Monthly Archives: May 2012

20 weeks and halfway there!

Moving week is here!! Saturday we packed up everything in our apartment, and today several friends came over to help us load the Uhaul. Dan and Emily are letting us sleep at their house tonight, and Emily graciously helped me with the 20 week photo since I hadn’t taken one yet this week! We are leaving first thing tomorrow morning and will take most of the week to get down to Nashville so posts may be a little spotty. You can follow me on Twitter {@lauren_aiken} for updates from the road!

Now for a 20 week update! I can’t believe we are halfway to meeting our little girl!

How far along? 20 weeks and 6 days
Baby Size: Approximately 10 inches from head to toe, or the size of a banana!
Total weight gain: About 8 pounds.
Maternity clothes? I can definitely fit into maternity tops now.
Stretch marks? Nope. I’m using my belly butter daily.
Sleep: We finally got a body pillow last weekend, and I’ve been sleeping really well with it!
Best moment(s) this week: Celebrating Matt’s birthday, a sweet baby shower thrown by the ladies in my community group, my last day in the office, and spending lots of time with friends before our move.
Miss Anything? Relaxing. We’ve been on the go ALL week!
Movement: I’m definitely feeling little movements almost every day now :).
Food cravings: We had Thai tonight for our last meal out in Seattle (one of my early pregnancy cravings)!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Gender: A sweet baby girl!!
Labor Signs: None.
Symptoms: Little kicks and a growing tummy.
Belly Button in or out? Still in.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Mood: A little anxious this week since I’ll be seeing a new group of midwives in Tennessee.
Looking forward to: My first road trip and lots of one-on-one time with Matt!

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Showered in Seattle

Tuesday was our last community group night. The ladies threw an adorable shower for me that night (with only a few days notice since Matt’s job and our move happened rather quickly).

Handmade banner by Emily.

Yummy lemonade + champagne drinks (sans champagne for me, of course).

Delicious cherry shortbread cookies made by Amber.

Bethany organized a couple of fun games – a Pregnancy Journey Mad Lib &
The Price is Right (with baby items!)

The girls showered me with all sorts of fun baby items: a Jellycat bunny (pictured below), several adorable baby girl onesies, pacifiers, bath supplies, a handmade framed chalkboard, and more!

We were having so much fun that I didn’t get pictures with everyone…

My friend Amber is expecting a baby boy, due two weeks before our little one!

And Michaela took all the photos for me (she took our reveal party photos too).

Emily picked up some pretty fabric, and we decorated onesies! I was so impressed with everyone’s creativity and will always remember my friends when our little girl wears each one.

Here are a few of the finished products. Aren’t they sweet??

Ladies, thank you so much! You have been a huge support and encouragement, and I have enjoyed getting to know each of you over the past few months. Thank you for thinking of me and for showering us in love, especially on such short notice. I’m going to miss you all!

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We have community group tonight so we celebrated last night instead. On the way home, Matt picked Matador for dinner. He had mentioned getting ice cream afterward, but I had planned a little surprise happy hour for him so I told him that I wanted to take him to get a beer first. A lot of our friends were there and some of the guys Matt worked with! I think he was at least a little surprised. We headed over to a famous homemade ice cream shop that we hadn’t been to yet and finished the night off with a game of Settlers of Catan – Cities and Knights (an early bday gift!).

Since Matt is turning 25, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you 25 things about him. In no particular order…

The 25 list

1. Matt was born in Turlock, CA and has lived in 5 states (California, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington).

2. He is the oldest of 6 siblings. They all have names beginning with “M” – Matt, Mackenzie, Merrick, Maclendon, Mallory, and Maclean. I love them all!!

3. Matt might be one of the most joy-filled, high energy people you meet. He goes non-stop until bedtime – every day – and then immediately falls asleep after insisting that he isn’t tired. He is also a morning person and wakes up as if he’s already had 2 cups of coffee in bed. I wish I could say the same for myself… 🙂

4. He is passionate about church planting and loves the local church. This is one of the first things that drew us together. I was taking a membership class at my church in DC and asked a question afterward. The pastor later mentioned it to Matt. I don’t really know if that had anything to do with him introducing himself to me or not. Soon after we met, and I was 100% sure I wanted to encourage him as he moved across the country one month after we met to work for Acts 29.

5. He’s really good at making up songs. Especially in the morning while he showers. Some of them are pretty impressive. Others are ridiculous. I have a few on video!

6. He has the best smile! Ok, I might be biased….but seriously, what a hunk, right??

7. Brewing beer gives him great joy. It makes a huge mess in the kitchen, but I actually enjoy the smell and I really like watching and learning him do something he loves. He creates his own recipes and always tries something new.

8. He loves food! This is great for me for a couple reasons: (1) he loves taking me out and (2) he compliments my cooking no matter how simple/elaborate and good/terrible it is.

9. His dream job is to be a video game developer. I have to admit that I used to HATE video games. I still don’t really like them but have learned to appreciate the ‘art’ in them. He has a huge collection and has recently been into Diablo 3 (it just came out a couple weeks ago). He says it’s the best game he’s ever played!

10. Matt also loves to play board games. We usually have a game night with friends at least once a week. He got Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights for his birthday. And we already played it last night (I let him open it a day early)! We are talking serious excitement here folks.

11. I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 as a little girl in Sunday school. Matt loves the Lord with his entire being and exemplifies this probably more than any man I’ve met. He challenges and encourages me daily to do the same.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways kacknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

12. He’s one of the most generous people I know…with time, money, and service.

13.  Matt is a natural protector. He will be a great dad (for more reasons than this)!

14. His pockets are always full. He keeps the following on his person every day: flashlight, knife, pocket bible, pen, wallet, usually gum and probably several random things too.

15. Matt loves to shop! Well, really he only likes to shop if we’re shopping for him. I think he would buy everything from Jcrew every season if he could.

16. He eats ice cream almost every night. Cookies and cream and cookie dough are his favorites. In fact, to celebrate his birthday last night, he ordered 3 (huge) scoops of homemade ice cream from Molly Moons.

17. Matt wants a German Shepard. Names of choice inlcude: Ruger, Gunner (he wanted this for a baby, but I think it’s a dog name), Springfield, Colt…anybody see a theme?

18. Matt has two favorite restaurants (1) La Hacienda in Dallas, TX and (2) Mama’s Fish House in Maui. We went to the second on our honeymoon, and I hope he takes me to the first some day!

19. He loves to dance!! On our first date, a new Brittney Spears song came on in the car and Matt, his roommate Matt, and his now-wife Rebekah started dancing to it. I was so embarrased and just sat there for the entire song. This is funny if you know me because I grew up dancing and am known for ridiculous dance parties with my sisters… We played the song at our wedding as the dance floor opener.

20. He loves movies. Specifically trilogies. I do not. But the first few months of marriage, we managed to get through all 6 of the Star Wars movies (in about 1 hour increments. I hadn’t seen any of them prior to this. Lord of the Rings is up next.)

21. Matt is a people person. Ok…if you know him this is no surprise. He seriously knows thousands of people – all over the country!

22. Twenty-five years ago, Matt’s mom and dad were putting his crib together when they left for the hospital! Nancy tells Matt the story every year, and he says it’s one of the only things he likes about his birthday.

23. His middle name is Arnold, after his great-grandfather. I didn’t realize how much he loves his name until he started begging to name our first son Arnold.

24. I texted Matt for a random fact that I can share publicly. He gave me three, but here is the best: When I was 11, I was constipated for a month. My mom told me they would stick a water balloon up my butt if I didn’t start pooping…I pooped.

25. Finally, Matt is the perfect husband for me. He loves me and leads better and better every day. He knows me intimately. He takes me on adventures. He makes me laugh. He encourages me, comforts me, and challenges me. He prays with me, for me, and for my friends. He wants what is best for me. He is always there for me. He compliments me. He listens to me and also teaches me. He gives me a practical picture of Christ’s love. I love you so much, Matt! Happy birthday!!

Thanks to all who took the time to read my ramblings about my husband :). I hope you learned something about him!

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One year ago

This is my beloved and this is my friend.
Song of Sol 5:16 

One year ago today, the man of my dreams asked me to spend the rest of this life with him. Here’s a recount of Matt’s proposal from our wedding website, told from his perspective.

So, it was a sunny, slightly balmy day in late May. I was on the road for work in Charlottesville, VA so Lauren hopped in her car and met me for the day. She thought we were just going to hang for the weekend. Oh how I love surprises.

The day started with a delicious lunch at Bodo’s Bagels, a Charlottesville favorite. We then drove down the road to Veritas Vineyard.  We grabbed a bottle of wine and a cheese plate and sat in two rocking chairs in the shade of a lone tree near the tasting room.

So we were sitting there talking when two gals came and sat about ten yards from us. Now, I knew that Lauren being pretty private would not want me to propose with them so close. I racked my brain for ways to get them to move without alerting Lauren. So, I sent her to the car to bring me my birthday present (not gentlemanly, I know). Meanwhile, I asked the gals to move. They cheerfully obliged me.

Lauren came back with my gift, a pair of new balance shoes that I had wanted for a while. It was a great gift, but I playfully informed her that mine was better. The time had come.

For those of you who wonder how I knew Lauren was the one, this is what I told her and continue to tell her. I know that I want to marry Lauren because I know that she loves me. She deeply cares for me. I do not fear losing her love. It is a simple thing, but an important thing.

So, after telling her that I walked her through what I envisioned for the next few decades. She excitedly affirmed where I wanted to take us, so without so much as a flinch, I slid to one knee. The first thing out of Lauren’s mouth was “Are you serious!?!” to which I laughed and said, “Yes, Lauren will you marry me?” She wrapped her arms around me (claiming to have said Yes. I don’t remember). A few minutes later, I asked to put the ring on her finger as I was still holding it.

Remembering what an exciting day that was and reflecting on the many blessings in our lives in the past year. Matt, thank you for loving and leading me every single day. I love you!!!