Ellen – Maternity Portraits

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents with your quivers full of children!”
Psalm 127:3-5

“For he will be like a tree planted by the water
that extends its roots by a stream
and will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
and it will not be anxious in a year of drought
nor cease to yield fruit.”
-Jeremiah 17:8
“Don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my  heavenly Father.” -Matthew 18:10“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.”
-Jeremiah 1:5
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
You know me inside and out,
You know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
How I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
-Psalm 139:13-16
“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9“‘I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.’ Then and there, they worshiped God.”
1 Samuel 1:27“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11“Cradling the little one in his arms, Jesus said, ‘Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me – God who sent me.'” Mark 9:37
Photography by Randy Olive (aka “Daddy” to the bump)

Dear Adam,

Happy 32 weeks, buddy!

What fun to document this special time. Your dad is an incredibly talented artist! Your Yaya made me the blue scarf I’m wearing, and these photos were taken at your Mimi and BB’s house (McBeth).

I loved selecting these Bible verses for you. I especially like the one comparing you to a tree. I pray that these words prove themselves true in your life.

I love you!
-Mom

Ma - January 29, 2016 - 7:31 pm

Incredible! These pictures leave me breathless! Ma

lisa - January 29, 2016 - 7:46 pm

Beautiful pics, beautiful mom, beautiful Word. So excited for you all. Can’t wait to see your little one!

Lezlie - January 29, 2016 - 7:47 pm

All I can say is wow!!!!!!!!! So beautiful!
Love you!
Mom

Auntie Jeneen - January 29, 2016 - 8:06 pm

Stunning, Ellen! Love these so much. You look radiant and Adam is being kind to you. Not much longer. Yay!

Mary-Stewart - January 29, 2016 - 9:31 pm

These are beautiful. You are beautiful. What a treasure for you, Randy, and Adam to have (and any future babies 😉 ).

Martha womac - January 29, 2016 - 11:26 pm

Ellen you are a beautiful reflection of God’s miracle of birth ! The verses put with the gorgeous pictures are breathtaking and such a testimony from you and Randy.
Love love love !! Baby Adam is one little blessed child to have such a mom and dad !

Telling the Family

Dear Adam,

If the weather cooperates this afternoon, your dad is taking maternity portraits of me! I have had such a wonderful pregnancy with you and am excited to document this time for me to remember. I am so thankful for my body – what a gift from God! That it works, that it walks, that it sees, that it hears, and that it can grow and sustain LIFE… your life!

Here’s a life lesson that took me way too long to learn… We only get one body. And it most certainly is a gift. It is our only vehicle with which we get to travel through life. It houses our spirit and mind and emotions while here on earth. It will not go to Heaven with us. We have it for a limited time. We owe it to God (the Giver of all good things) to love it, appreciate it, to fuel it, and to treat it well. It matters how we view it. It matters what we feed it. I pray you have a positive body image always and understand true health and nutrition at an early age! Your body will not be perfect, but it is still a gift to be taken care of!

And here’s another fun memory from early in this pregnancy. I last wrote about how I told your dad about you. I could not WAIT to tell my family! They were in Alaska on a mission trip but I definitely wanted to tell them in person, so we had to wait a week. My mom (your “Yaya”) planned an Alaskan dinner for us when they came home. I made sure Ma and Pa would also be there and came up with another fun announcement plan that would be captured on video!

The night before our Alaskan dinner, we FaceTimed your Nana (your dad’s mom). We were going to make the rounds on FaceTime (video chat feature on our iPhones. Crazy that when you read this one day, these will be ancient forms of technology! Ha!) to all of Randy’s family members (they all live near Atlanta, Georgia), BUT as luck would have it, they were all together at dinner to celebrate Jaxon’s birthday! Nana passed around the phone so we could say hi to everyone and when it landed back to her, Randy asked, “Who’s missing?” She was quite confused. He said, “I don’t know, someone’s missing from this picture. You’re missing a grandchild!” And we slowly moved our first ultrasound photo onto the screen. She immediately started crying. We could hear your Uncle Jesse in the background who thought something was really wrong, but your Aunt Jeneen knew right away that we were PREGNANT! So then they passed the phone around again in celebration and to share congratulations! What fun!

That night, we also FaceTimed someone very dear to us, Matt McCord (Mills’ dad; also in Georgia). He has known your dad for about 20 years and has invested much time and wisdom into his life! He was about to go on directing a band show, so the celebration was short and sweet, but he called us later that night and said the sweetest prayer over you that has stuck in my ears and my heart ever since. In his prayer, he said that the Holy Spirit already resides in me, and asked God that he would be very real to you even in the womb. That you could be born already knowing, sensing, and recognizing the love and peace and gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit. Wow. I have echoed this prayer numerous times. What a precious man and mentor and friend. Your dad will probably tell you lots of stories about him!

Saturday finally arrived. I was off work and went to my parents’ house early for a baby shower for your Aunt Jamie (Cooper’s mama who lived in your bedroom before she married Uncle Beau!). It was so crazy knowing that no one knew about you yet, but we would be celebrating YOU in a few months! Carrying that secret made me excitedly nervous that entire day!

Ellen and Nat

(Photo from Jamie’s shower – Natalie and I pregnant together! Me with Adam, Natalie with Addie)

The shower ended and we waited for the rest of my family to arrive for dinner. It felt like it was taking forever!! Everyone arrived and we set the table. Papa (my dad) prayed and right after he said Amen, while everyone was actually still seated, Randy got up and said, “This is quite a beautiful spread! Before we eat, let me get a photo of everyone really quickly!” He borrowed my trick and slid his phone to video mode. Everyone posed and smiled as he counted, “1… 2… 3…” and I said, “I’m pregnant!” and just waited for a reaction. It felt like an eternity before anyone reacted. I thought, “Did I actually say it out loud? Did anyone hear me??” Haha. My mom said in disbelief, “Uh uh!” I looked at her and smiled with confirmation and she SQUEALED and everyone went crazy! Your Aunt Natalie said she thought I was joking to just make everyone smile! My mom and Ma asked when I was due. When they learned it was March, they said together, “Cancel Israel!” They were scheduled to travel to Israel that month, but they weren’t about to miss your grand entrance!

(Video in link below)

Telling the Family

Sweet boy, you have quite the tribe waiting in anticipation for you! We just had our first baby shower this weekend, and the amount of love and blessings poured out over your arrival is pretty astounding. You are so loved!

You have my heart,
Mom

Tracy Collier - February 2, 2016 - 10:39 pm

That was beautiful!!!

Hey guess what?

January 19, 2016

Dear Adam,

This past weekend, I took a tour of the maternity wing at Memorial Hermann Katy. It was all well and good (thanks to your cousins, J. and Addie, recently being born there) until we went into one of the labor and delivery rooms. I’ve never been in one! They are so big and nice, but as I stood there looking around, my heart started beating faster and it hit me that very soon, I will be in a room just like that one bringing you into the world and getting to meet you for the first time! Surreal!

I want to write out my memories of how I told your dad about you this past summer. In my last letter, I wrote about how I found out about you. I knew I wanted to tell Randy in person and that I wanted to video his response. So I decided that I would tell him at the dinner table after dinner that night when he got home from work!

Plan A involved me sitting in Randy’s usual chair so that he would have to sit in mine (for better lighting for the video!) and when he was done eating and picked up Ollie (a nightly ritual), I would pretend like I was taking a photo of them (but really have it on video) and tell him I was pregnant! Great plan, right? Except that once dinner started, our friend stopped by! I needed a Plan B!

Plan B – I needed to walk Ollie after dinner, and I asked if Randy wanted to join us. I would let him hold the leash so I could do the fake photo thing again on my phone… but Randy had a lot to talk about regarding work and ended up talking the whole time. On to Plan C… (I was becoming very nervous / anxious / excited!)

Plan C – we actually had a relaxing evening at home that night and were watching recordings of Jimmy Fallon. It was already getting dark outside (NOT in my original plan for lighting! Ha!) when he got on the floor to play with Ollie. He picked him up and they were being so cute, so I said, “Aww – hold him still and let me take a photo!” Smooth. Here was my chance. I slid my camera app to video mode and said, “Hey guess what? WE’RE PREGNANT!” (Video in link below!)

We Are Pregnant

I think the funniest part of his reaction is that he kept asking if I was serious! How terrible of a joke would that have been? Of course I was serious!

My favorite part is his eyes when he covers his mouth. Sweetness. His life changed forever in that instant!

The next moments included shock and sweet long hugs and showing him the two pink lines. That night, we prayed for you together. I’ve always known Randy would make an awesome dad – and I was finally getting to watch it happen!

The next day, I called the doctor to make an appointment to confirm the pregnancy. I went in the following week and you were definitely confirmed! You were still too little to see via sonogram (about 6 weeks), but we saw your “sac”. They printed out that photo anyway for us. We had a list of questions to ask and I learned things like taking DHA for your brain and what I could and could not eat, etc. We were waiting for my family to return home from Alaska before we started telling friends and family. That will be my next post (and another video)!

I hope that when you read these letters one day you will feel loved and treasured. We already know that your life is a gift to us. You are adding so much value and love and joy to our family!

So much love,
Mom

Lezlie armour - January 19, 2016 - 11:15 am

Love this!!!!!!
Love you!i am so excited to meet Adam who we already love!
Mom

sherry naron - January 19, 2016 - 7:29 pm

The best pregnancy announcement of all time! What a treasure for Adam to be able to see his dad’s reaction the second he knew…so awesome!!!! You are so smart!!!

Two Pink Lines

Wednesday January 13, 2016

Dear Adam,

Hey sweet boy! We’re almost 30 weeks along! Last week, we got to see you again at Dr. Rivera’s office. You were hiding your face again, BUT you were playing with your hands and even gave us a peace sign! You make me smile.

Over a year ago, we revised our baby plan… again (Plan D or E, maybe?? Haha)… and decided we’d try to get pregnant late 2015 and have a fall 2016 baby. I knew I’d be spending most of 2015 recording “Welcome Home” with your “Uncle” Trey (your mom is one half of a super cool indie-folk band, Olive & Willis!) Well, in March, your dad lost his job in oil and gas (along with thousands of other Houstonians), and made a risky switch into real estate. It was risky because he would be in a very long training program and I only work part time at Little Eclectic House (your Mimi’s shop!) and am a musician on the weekends… It would definitely cost us. We really thought about our baby plan and decided we should / could still stick with the plan as we were hopeful about the potential of his new job. In May, we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. In June, we realized that in order to stick with our plan, we were just about 5-6 months out from our hopeful pregnancy, so maybe we should *start* practicing then because it would probably take a few months. 😉 Well… just ONE MONTH LATER in July, I found out I was pregnant with YOU!! Your dad was still very early in his training and I was not finished recording Welcome Home, but we were thrilled nonetheless!! Here’s how I found out…

It was Monday, July 20th. I had a really busy work weekend including a City Centre gig that Sunday night. Mondays and Tuesdays are my “weekend” / my days off, and at that time, I would go to a hot yoga class each of those days. So Monday morning I woke up and went to my favorite hot yoga class with Josie. I remember it feeling WAY hotter than normal and feeling like I was sweating gallons. I had been taking these classes regularly for a year and was typically conditioned to it, so I just figured they had cranked the heater up or something. Also, there was a pregnant lady in the row behind me and I was mesmerized by her ability to modify the poses and still practice! I watched her the whole time.

After class, I sat in my car and opened up the calendar app on my phone and did some counting. When I got to 30 days and was still counting, well, I really can’t describe that feeling, but it still contained doubt and disbelief. I drove my sweaty self to HEB and bought a protein cookie, laundry detergent, and a box of pregnancy tests. I hurried home and OF COURSE didn’t have to go to the bathroom because I had just sweat out all of my bodily fluids. I sat on the edge of our bathtub chugging water and reading and re-reading the instructions on the pregnancy test box (like I had never taken one). Finally, I was able to take the first test. I had my timer opened on my phone for the three-minute window I wasn’t supposed to look at the test. (Really??) Well, within like 5 seconds, the first pink line (the pregnant line) was BRIGHT hot pink! Wait a minute… I’ve never seen two lines before. Maybe I should still wait all three minutes? Could this line go away within three minutes? I sat there for an eternity (three minutes) staring at the hot pink first line and IT DID NOT GO AWAY!

I walked out of the bathroom and just sat on the edge of the bathtub with no emotion for about a minute or two and then all of a sudden: joy, excitement, fear, amazement, and gratitude all hit me at once and I got on my knees and cried and prayed. You had just made me a MOM!!! I begged God to help me be a good mom to you. I began to pray over my labor and delivery (please be nice to me!) and even pray over your life – that you would be kind and bold and brave and that you would stand up for what’s right and fight for justice. That you would have good friends and that you would be a good friend. That you would know God early and recognize His voice.

When I could finally stand up, I came up with a plan to tell your dad that night when he got home from work! I’ll write about that next!

(And later that afternoon, I sure did take the other test in the box just to make sure!)

Oh sweet boy, how I love you. You’ve brought so much joy to us already!

Love you forever,
Mom

Lezlie - January 14, 2016 - 7:24 pm

You made me cry!!!!
Love this and love you!
Can’t wait for Adam!
Love you,
Mom

Ma - January 15, 2016 - 8:12 am

What a wonderful chapter. I can hardly wait for the next one. Love you.

Hey guess what? » Olive Our Moments - January 19, 2016 - 10:59 am

[…] Two Pink Lines […]

Adam Armour Olive

Friday January 1, 2016

Dear Adam,

Welcome to 2016! It’s officially the year of your birth! We will always remember this year. Just the other day, your dad and I were going over each month of 2016 and how exciting you are going to make them!

Your dad has been writing to you since he found out we were pregnant – even before we knew you were a boy! Each letter is full of love and wisdom and life lessons he wants to make sure you know. I know one day you will treasure those words.

I want to write to you during this last trimester (28 weeks yesterday! We are 7 months pregnant!) and just try to put into words my joy and anticipation for you.

I celebrated my 30th birthday a few days ago on December 28th. Your dad took me to Bryan, Texas (amongst other fun dates!) for a private couple’s prenatal yoga session with our friend Lexi at Om Grown Yoga. It was a wonderful and relaxing session, but the best part was at the end. She had us lay next to each other and hold hands and she guided us in a beautiful meditation and blessing over you and over us becoming parents. She had us visualize every moment of your BIRTHday – including what you look like! We imagined our feelings and emotions of driving to the hospital, the feeling of seeing you for the first time and hearing your first cries, and even visualizing us bringing you home! (In my daydream, Ollie is super excited to meet you and will remain calm. Ha! We shall see!) Then she had us silently pray for each other in becoming parents – at which point the tears started flowing. I can’t wait to watch Randy become a dad! I know he will love you beautifully and creatively. She had us each meditate on three words we would choose for ourselves as parents and then meditate on our hope for your life. I just could not stop crying as my joy for you was overflowing!

Later that night, Randy and I shared our words with each other. Mine are:
1. strong
2. consistent
3. loving

There are many more words that I hope that I emulate for you, but those three are very important to me. As I shared these with your dad, he replied, “Oh, you will be! You will be the ‘Ma’ in our family.” What a compliment! Ma is your great grandmother who is one of my heros. You will be blessed to know her! She will pray for you every day of your life! (I bet she’s already started!) If I can emulate her strength, consistency, and love, I am confident that I will be a good mother! (Oh, and her last name is ADAM! This is no coincidence, dear one!)

We are preparing for new floors to be installed starting on Monday. (This is all for you!) We have been purging and cleaning and organizing like crazy these past couple of days! People call this “nesting.” Sweet baby, it is an honor to prepare this nest for you! God is definitely in this home and in your room and we pray you will know His peace and love here. It has been a place of growth, healing, and restoration for us and for friends who have stayed here. We are all loving how your room is coming together. (Huge thanks to your super talented “Mimi” / Shellie McBeth for helping me with the design elements!) Just tonight, Ollie led me into your room – just to be on your rug for a minute.

As I type, you are moving around and I absolutely love it. I treasure these moments.

I plan on writing out more about my pregnancy in the next few days: how I found out about you, how I told your dad and my family, etc. You are already so loved and such a gift in our lives!

My precious boy, I love you so much. You are my joy!

With my whole heart,
Mom

Lezlie - January 1, 2016 - 11:48 pm

Ellie,
This is absolutely beautiful!
Adam is one blessed little boy with you as his mommy!
Love you!
Mom

sherry naron - January 1, 2016 - 11:51 pm

You are going to be such a good mom! Love this!

T w e e t e r s
F a c e b o o k
G +