2011 you did not disappoint

2011 had a lot to live up to as it had to follow our first year as newlyweds, which was pretty fantastic if I say so myself. 
Here are a few of 2011's highlights:

we recorded one of our songs 
we dreamt about having a little monkey of our own
i had a freak out and then felt better
Dear 2012,

You are the year that we will become parents.
Try to go easy on us, we will be new at this.
And please try not to go as fast as 2011, we want to savor every moment.
No doubt you will be full of many firsts.  
I can imagine you being rich with smiles and gazes at our new baby, family trips, and perhaps a new home.
We can't wait to see what you have in store for us.

R & J & little e

(see our letter to last year here.)


i must have a really comfy womb

like really soon.

Today we went to the ultrasound specialists and saw that Miss Evaleigh has a head full of hair, really likes to practice breathe in tha womb, and is an extreme contortionist(even the tech was impressed and equally dumbfounded as to how she got into the position she was in). 

All of those things make her a really cool baby.

After the ultrasound we decided that the Version, though possible, is not for us.  We really feel like if EJ is meant to turn then she will.  I am already being humbled by my child.  I remember when I was first starting to feel her move and kick, I was in awe that she had the freedom to move as she pleased.  Although she was a part of me and we were sharing the same body...I had no control over her.  That amazed me and I was proud of her for being her own little person.  I am really learning more about the gift of agency.   

We have date set for the c section and the idea of it is growing on me.  Thank you each and every one for the incredible outpouring of love, support, and kind words you shared with me yesterday.  I can't tell you how much each comment, phone call, text message, email, and facebook message meant to me.  I am astounded at the heart warming words I have received from friends and strangers alike.  I went to bed last night feeling much better and incredibly at peace.

Although, I may still ground Evaleigh for a few weeks after she is born for not listening to me tell her "TURN AROUND BABY!!!!" probably 1,000 times.  She is in trouble but I forgive her because I just must have a really comfy womb.

(Also a thank you to Nat the Fat Rat for our little feature yesterday.  I bet you are getting rather tired of Christmas trees.)


not what we had planned.

Yesterday was a hard day.
I sat in my doctors office with my mother by my side and the doctor told me what I already knew...
EJ is still breech.
I struggled to hold back my tears and listened to her tell me the options.  
We basically have two choices:

try to turn her via External Cephalic Version (which we don't quite feel good about)
a C-section

My heart sank.

Having a c-section is everything I did not want in this birth.  Its not about having a scar and its not even about being scared to go through a surgery, although I'm not too excited about that either.  
It is about my right as a woman.
I was made for this.  My body was made for this.  I have always imagined the moment of bringing my sweet babies in to the world as the end result of laboring and working so hard to get their little bodies out of me.  I imagined being sweaty and being cheered on with my husband by my side and showing the world that I am a warrior woman who can do anything.  It is about years of dreaming of that moment only now to have it changed.  It is about using my body exactly the way my Heavenly Father intended for it to be used.
Now, that choice is not mine and I am sad.

After we left the doctor I was devastated, I cried on the phone to John for a bit.  When we got home I received a very timely tender mercy.
In my inbox came this miracle email:
"remember as long as your little one is healthy how she chooses to come in the world is on her and believe me it is good to be humbled right away, they have a mind of their own.  so my dear enjoy and keep us up north warm with your news and your life.  your other mom, diane"
I couldn't believe it.  This is the woman who saved my life when I was a near miss SIDS baby, I was only a couple months old when I stopped breathing.  She had no idea what had transpired that very day.  My heart was comforted and it was exactly what I needed to hear.  However Evaleigh CHOOSES to come is ok with me.  It is amazing to me how two souls can connect across hundreds of miles.  Diane, I can't thank you enough for your words.  I love you so.

So, I spent the rest of the evening reading stories of women who had positive experiences with c section births. This one gives me hope.  I am trying to reprogram my thinking and prepare for this experience in a whole new way.  I'm not sure how yet, but I am working on a change of heart.  
We go for an ultrasound tomorrow to see if the Version is really even an option for us based on EJ's size, the fluid, and the placement of the umbilical cord.  

If it is not...it looks like we will have our daughter in 2 weeks.


christmas in 10 pictures

christmas eve waffle house dinner before the midnight service
some sweet and low
paninis with mom's homemade potato soup
husband scoring a christmas gift home run---my new moby
pregnant sisters in our annual christmas pose on the stairs
christmas temple date with hubs
a love gift from a dear friend in South Africa (thanks taryn!)
an after christmas lunch date with a lovely lady
9 month pregnant woman in front of a tree
christmas night dinner at the zimmermans

...and it was good


On Christmas Eve this beautiful family of 4 was involved in a head-on collision.  The mother and father and 1 year old sustained critical injuries and on Christmas Day they lost their son Colum.

I am clear across the country and do not personally know this family but my heart breaks for them.  As I am about to embark on motherhood myself I cannot imagine a more horrific or painful thing.

There is a way we can help.

You can go to this website to donate to this family.

I am humbled at this time and I stand in awe of the gift of life.  I am keeping a prayer in my heart for this family and the painful journey that is ahead for them and hope that you will too.


happy birthday jeuas

(an adorably misspelled list of favorite Christmas songs made by my 9 year old voice student Michelle.)

It is Christmas Eve and I have love and gratitude in my heart.
Mr. Murphy has gone out to do Christmas Eve shopping and the women are going to cozy up and do some cooking.

May the heraled angles sing of the birth of our sweet Savior, Jeuas.

Merry Christmas Eve to all.

p.s. this is beautiful.


Christmas Card 11'

I love Christmas cards.
I love sending them.
I love getting them.
So, here is one for your little online mailbox from us to you.

Next year we will have an extra little person in our Christmas pictures.
Merry Christmas!!!


perfect ten

10 things that gave me joy this season:

1. My husband bringing me his evergreen tree soaked hands and letting me take in deep breaths for as long as I'd like.

2. New York style pumpkin cheesecake ice-cream from Kroger.

3. Fresh clean warm sheets just on the bed on a cold winter night.

4. Being pregnant with my sister, every girls dream.

5. Picking oranges fresh off the trees and making Christmas wassail with them.

6. Feeling our baby girl roll from one side of me to the other and watching John's eyes get as big as silver dollars when he feels her too.

7. Seeing people with Christmas trees a top their cars.

8. An unopened pack of Christmas cards waiting to be written in and sent off.

9. Homemade ornaments on the tree.

10. The anticipation of adding a new little person to our family and trying to imagine how beautifully different Christmas will be next year and all of the rest of the years to follow.


kings and queens

Yesterday morning we got a knock on our bedroom door at 9:00am.
Mom says, "Can I come in?"
I say, "No. Let me come out there."
You see I didn't want to wake my husband who had a feverish night with a temp of 101.3.  The weirdest part of it all...I was awoken from a dream in which I was taking his temp and the thermometer said 105.7....weird.  When I woke up I felt his skin and he was burning up so I gave him some tylenol, put a cold cloth on his head, and let him drift back off to sleep.

When I opened the door, the best mother in the world was standing in the hallway with a tray full of the yummiest breakfast in bed food and yelled at the top of her lungs, "THE FIRST GIFT OF CHRISTMAS!!!!!"  (a la Tom Hanks at about 0:36 here)
I could have cried.

I'm pretty sure I was raised by the kindest most selfless person that has ever been created.  
I hope to be half the mother to EJ that my mother has been to me.
Our breakfast was complete with hot chocolate avec big marshmallows, cheese toast and jam, peppermint sticks, and fresh tart cranberries, bananas, and sliced oranges from the grove.

We ate like a king and queen in bed.
It was the perfect start to a day full of present wrapping, Christmas card sending, laundry, working, and teaching.  
The long day ended with my hips up on the couch, John Mayer playing on my iPhone near my pelvis, and ice packs on the top of my tummy.  I only stayed in that position for 10 minutes because two certain king sized somethings on my chest were suffocating me.
No turning response from the little girl in my belly but all in all a pretty wonderful day.
Maybe we're just playing the wrong music...Hubs thinks we need some of this.

p.s. Thanks Bridge for the feature.



This weekend we went to see The Nutcracker at The Fox Theater.  John and I had never been to a ballet before.  It was breathtaking, and I'm not just talking about the men in tights.
I watched in amazement at what these people could do with their bodies.  I was in absolute awe of them.
The human body is a pretty miraculous thing.
The way they moved was captivating and I had so much respect for their craft.  
I am so grateful to have a body that works the way that it does.  I am grateful that my body is strong and healthy and that I can carry this baby inside of me.  We have been given such a special gift to use our bodies however we please.  
As I watched these dancers use their bodies to make art, I was humbled by them.
It was a true Christmas experience as the gratitude of my heart was enlarged.

In other news, 4 weeks and a few days til baby EJ.  I cannot WAIT to meet her.  She has been so active lately.  She is still breech which scares me tremendously.  I want so badly to have a natural birth and really need her to turn that little head upside down!  I might try and coax her below with some Christmas music near my pelvis tonight accompanied by and bag of peas on my upper torso all while laying upside down with my feet in the air.  
It is going to be quite the sight to see.
This body is going to be doing some impressive things of its own tonight...


homemade christmas.

I am always looking for ways to reuse anything around the house.  This year an old Jesus the Christ book from the 70's was my victim.  I present to you my...

1.  Find an old book you don't mind ripping up.  I felt a little guilty ripping up a book about Jesus but at the same time, isn't that what this Holiday is all about anyway?!  Now, I feel justified.

2.  Tear out several pages.

3.  Fold them short ways accordion style.

4.  Bend them in half.

5.  Put two of them together.  Tie string around the middles to hold together and glue seams shut.

After assembling all of the paper ornaments I gave them a pop of color with this paper tape from Anthropologie.

We paired these decorations with some vintage seam binding from my Nanny.  We had several colors so we cut them into strips and tied them together to form a colorful garland.

And there you have it!  Someone 40 years ago bought a book and I turned it in to a cheap and easy DIY Holiday decoration! 

P.S. Two years ago today I got to do something very special.  I went to this place for the first time.  I will never forget the reverence and beauty of that peaceful day.  I am so grateful for this season and the time to reflect on my love for the Savior.  This is such an incredibly special time of year for me as I remember the sacred blessings I received that day.


that special moment...

...when you realize that there is food out there with an expiration date two days before your Dday.  

We are off to buy a car seat today. And maybe a stroller, how much does one really use that thing any way?  I want one of these to carry my babe in instead.  Maybe I will even be as awesome as to pack our hospital bags this afternoon.  LOOK OUT!


I finally hung the $!@#$ pictures.

I awoke this morning to a tiny little girl with a bad case of the hiccups.  I am normally a 9am waker so this 6am wake up call was just that...a wake up call.  
Pretty soon that will be my life.  
I couldn't go back to sleep so I just sat up and watched EJ's head butt me in the ribs with each hiccup.  (Please someone tell this child I need her to turn head down in the next couple of weeks!)
I forgave her though because it was annoyingly cute. 
I enjoyed watching the morning come.  It was dark when I first awoke and there was something exciting, peaceful, and soothing about that time of day.  I am so looking forward to cuddling my sweet baby in the morning light.

Yesterday I finally did something I have been procrastinating carefully thinking about for the past two months.
I finally hung the *bleeping* pictures in Evaleigh's room.
I have been sitting on this project for a while and I have slowly been collecting images I love.
I really adore how it turned out.
The nursery is almost there.  We are still working on fulfilling the plan.

some of the images 1/2/3/4/5/6

Thank you again Pinterest for another life saving idea.

Happy Friday, it's the weekend!


i like big butts and i cannot lie...

We have decided to do something a little different.
Cloth diapers.
We tend to get some pretty mixed reactions when we tell people this.  Mostly people thinking we are crazy and saying, "Well good luck with that!"  and completely dismissing the idea.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think shaking poo off in to the toilet will be on the top of my list of favorite things to do BUTT (two t's on purpose...) when it comes to the saving cost of cloth vs. disposables...there is no comparison.

Well, actually there is and you can see it here or here.

Not to mention the environmental impact of disposables considering that from birth to potty training I will change Miss EJ an average of 6,840 times.  That's a lot of diapers folks...and a lot of poo.  Oh man, what have I gotten my self in to?

On Tuesday my sister and I went to The Natural Baby in Athens.  Rebecca Almy gave us a 2 hour Cloth Diapering consult and I now feel more confident than ever in our choice to cloth diaper.  I think it will come with its own challenges but I also think we will come out on top once we get in to a routine.

Here are a few of the things we are starting with.  
I'm not as educated on all of this as I would like to be but I am getting there. 
If any of you have personal experiences or thoughts on the matter I would love to hear them.  What worked for you?  What didn't?  I'm really open to any of the information that is out there, so share with me!
I can't wait to see Miss EJ's little bubbly hiney in these.


the fruit of our loins : the orange grove shoot

A few weeks back we had a little photo session on our family ranch with Audrey Layne in the orange grove.  We did it in the grove in honor of the fruit of our loins which will be coming about in 6 weeks or so.
We are so happy with how beautiful the pictures turned out.


the promised date

As promised, I got my date night full of tree decorating and hot chocolate.  There wasn't a fire or a movie but there was plenty of Christmas music on the record player and episodes of The New Girl and The Cosby's.

This year we went mostly all homemade on our Christmas tree decorations.  I did however get a whole arm full of cuddly fabric animals from Target to go on the tree.  I am thinking of reusing them for a mobile in EJ's room when we are done with them for Christmas, they are just too cute to put away for a whole year after we are done with them.

We ended the weekend watching (this) and it truly brought the spirit of Christmas to us.  I am so looking forward to the rest of this Holiday season.  
Mostly because our baby girl is on the other end of it!



I had a tender moment a week or so ago that I want to write down before I forget.
My grandparents came over for Thanksgiving and I was so happy to see them here because we weren't sure they were going to make it seeing that my Pawpaw had just had neck surgery.
After Thanksgiving lunch I had a moment outside on the porch with my grandfather.  I was sitting on the coffee table and he was in a little chair in his usual position with his skinny chicken legs crossed.  We were talking about EJ coming and all of the sudden he got a little quiet and he looked up at me.  He said, "Rachel, you don't know it yet but you are about to enter the happiest years of your life."  I had to hold back the tears. 
There is something really sweet and tender to me about advice from him.  I trust his words so much.  They are filled with life experience and knowledge from all of his years.  He worked hard for his family to give them the best that he could and provide for them.  I am proud to have come from him.
He went on to tell me, "You know the golden years aren't so golden sometimes.  Most of the time it feels a little bit more like rust.  Your body starts to give out and it can be very frustrating.  So, enjoy these years of your life now for all that you can.  But one thing that will make these years golden for me is meeting my first great-granddaughter.  She is going to be such a beautiful little girl."
I hope I can remember not to take these years for granted.  I am so grateful for the sacred blessing it is to become a mother.  I think it will be the hardest and best thing I will ever do.

Here are just a couple more picture from Thanksgiving.  I'm sharing them fashionably late since I just got them from my sisters camera.

we are practicing our labor faces

Ok, on to Christmas...no more talk of Thanksgiving, for real this time.
Can't wait to share our Christmas tree tomorrow, its pretty fan-dan-tastic.
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