Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016.

2016. It's been a year of learning and growth, ups and downs. "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14) has been the verse that has sustained me. Through it all, I've seen God's love, faithfulness, mercy and grace . 

January - We started the year with news that a sweet baby we loved and prayed for hadn't made it. We ended the month at the happiest place on earth - Disney World.

February - The Lord continued to heal us from the disappointment of the month before and fill us with hope.

March - We celebrated Kevin's birthday and spent some time at the beach. 

April - I turned 30 and Kaden turned 7. I started racing again and little did I know, there was a baby in my belly during my fastest race in about a year. 

May - We found out we had a baby on the way Mother's Day weekend. To say we were surprised and grateful is an understatement. Danny Gokey's song, "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again," became my theme song and I felt God's presence and assurance every time I heard it. 

June - The boys finished third and first grades. We spent time at Sapelo Island and went to Garden City Beach for a week. 

July - We found out our baby is a boy! We celebrated K.C.'s 9th birthday and spent another week at Garden City. K.C. and Kaden both made public professions of faith and joined our church! 

August - Our nights were spent watching the Olympics and Michael Phelps make history. K.C. started fourth grade and Kaden started second. 

September - We got started on the baby's room and other projects around the house. The boys began playing soccer again and Kevin continued his softball season. 

October - We spent a long weekend in the mountains and watched Clemson beat NC State. We had a fun Halloween with family.

November - Celebrations for the baby were in full swing with two showers. We feel so blessed to have the family and friends we have. We celebrated Thanksgiving and counted our blessings. 

December - The highlight of this month was when the boys were baptized. We're so thankful that they've made the decision to follow Jesus and pray that they'll always be beacons of light for our Savior. We also had two more baby showers and ended the month by celebrating our Savior's birth. 

When reflecting on the year this morning, K.C. and Kaden agreed that the highlights of their year were getting baptized and finding out about baby Caleb. I'd have to agree with them. There's nothing greater than serving our Lord and Savior and nothing sweeter than this baby who will join our family. 

Here's to 2016 - the lessons, the upsets and happiness, and the faithfulness we've felt. God has been good to us! I'm so excited about the year to come!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Yesterday was a joyous day in the life of our family. K.C. and Kaden were baptized!

Over the past year and a half, they've both accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord and asked Him to come into their hearts. Over the summer, they took the step of joining our church which is when they made a public profession of their faith in the Lord. That was such an exciting and proud day for us and one that surprised us. While we knew they had asked Jesus into their hearts, they were both slightly nervous to walk down the aisle to join the church (a practice in the Baptist denomination). During the service that Sunday, they told us they were ready and were going to do it.

About a month ago, we moved into a new sanctuary and yesterday was the first baptism in our new sanctuary. The boys have been so excited about their baptisms and woke up ready to go.

We are so proud of the decision they made to follow Jesus. It is the greatest decision they'll make in their life. It is our prayer that our boys will always allow the Lord to lead them, will be beacons of light for Him, and will "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).







Friday, December 16, 2016

PREGNANCY UPDATE | 35 Weeks



Week: 35! I'll be 36 tomorrow!

Weight Gain: I'm up 35 pounds. When I went to the doctor yesterday, I'd gained less than a pound (almost a pound though) since last week.

What's Happening: The baby weighs about 5.5 pounds and he's getting ready to meet us! He's an active guy! 

Feeling: I'm feeling better, though I've found it's harder to get comfortable at night. 

Sleep: It depends on the night. Some nights are better than others. I won't complain though!

Wearing: Leggings, leggings, and more leggings with cute tops and dresses. 

Exercise: I'm as active as I can be!

Eating: Whatever I'm wanting which seems to be carbs, vegetables, fruit, cereal, and beef once again.

Missing: These things have stayed the same: playing with my boys like normal, running, Chickfila, and my normal body.

Thoughts: I can't wait to meet our son! I can't believe that we are less than a month from my due date! I'm so thankful to God for blessing us with three boys!

Friday, December 9, 2016

PREGNANCY UPDATE | 34 Weeks



Week: 34! 5 weeks to go as I'm writing this a day before I'm 35 weeks. I can't believe it! 

Weight Gain: I'm up about 34 pounds. I've noticed my appetite is drastically decreasing which is to be expected as baby is taking up all the room. I was pleasantly surprised to have only gained about 1.5 pounds when I went to the doctor yesterday. That was much better than the 5 I gained during the previous two-week stretch!

What's Happening: The baby is getting ready to meet us! His lungs are finishing developing and he's developing his immune system. He's packing on weight - about half a pound a week for the next two weeks. He's estimated by my doctor to weigh about 5 pounds. She predicts he'll weigh between 6-7 pounds at birth. 

He's also turned down into the birth position, which I'm grateful for. He moves very often and his movements have changed in the way they feel. Instead of hard jabs, there's pressing and pushing. His little backside is on my right, his legs are below my ribs on the left, and his hands like to practice boxing on my lower left quite often. It's insane to me how he's moving. He's very responsive, too. Anytime music is playing, he starts moving. He also moves when I get in the tub for a relaxing bath. Kevin will sometimes tap my stomach and he'll kick or punch back. It's cute!

Feeling: I'm feeling better. I've had a better week. I still have days where I feel bad, but for the most part, I'm managing better than I did the first 32 weeks. I'm thankful for Zofran and scared to stop it. 

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty well once I get comfortable. It's surprised me that it takes so long to get comfortable at night.

Wearing: Maternity pants and some tops, like Old Navy's long-sleeve tees. I'm also wearing many of my normal dresses that aren't fitted. Being pregnant in the winter with leggings in style has its perks! I'm also wearing regular non-fitted shirts in a medium.

Exercise: I'm being active without sticking to a strict exercise plan. I've been doing some third trimester pre-natal workouts on YouTube, walking, and doing squats. As much as I wish I had been able to run and workout through pregnancy, my body just wasn't having it. 

Eating: Salad, potatoes, some meat, and pasta. I've had steak twice and pork chops this week which is an improvement over the past few weeks when I haven't wanted any protein. 

Missing: These things have stayed the same: playing with my boys like normal, running, Chickfila, and my normal body.

Thoughts: I say it in every update, but I am in awe of this process. It's incredible to me the way our bodies change and adapt to grow a new person. I am so thankful that God has given us this gift of another son. We can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

PREGNANCY UPDATE | 33 Weeks

This isn't an official belly picture, but this is from Thankgiving.


Week: 33! I can't believe it! Only 6.5 weeks to go. 

Weight Gain: I'm up about 31 pounds. I'm ok with it too. Based on my weight gain thus far, I think I'll end up being one of those who gains 40 pounds (or more). My body seems to be holding onto everything I eat, which these days, seems to be carbs and fruit.

What's Happening: The baby is practicing breathing and sucking, his lungs are getting ready for our air, and he's opening and closing his eyes.

It's incredible to me to feel him move. We have a very active baby which I love, despite the fact that his kicks sometimes hurt. I think he'll be a good soccer player like his big brothers if his kicks are any indication of his strength. In fact, at my 30 week appointment, my doctor commented on how strong his kicks were at only 30 weeks as he kicked the doppler!

Feeling: I'm doing ok. I've started slowing down, still have sporadic nausea that has kept me taking Zofran, and have a hard time getting comfortable in bed. I won't complain though. Only 6.5 more weeks! I have said that I am really going to be upset if January 16 is here and he isn't because I have in my mind - even though I know the likelihood of him being born on his due date is extremely slim - that I'll feel better by January 16. 

Sleep: Once I get to sleep, I sleep well. I do have a hard time getting comfortable at night when I get in bed, but once I go to sleep, I sleep ok. I have started getting up about twice a night which is something I didn't experience in early pregnancy.

Wearing: Maternity pants and some tops, like Old Navy's long-sleeve tees. I'm also wearing many of my normal dresses that aren't fitted. Being pregnant in the winter with leggings in style has its perks! I'm also wearing regular non-fitted shirts in a medium.

Exercise: I'm being active without sticking to a strict exercise plan. I've been doing some third trimester pre-natal workouts on YouTube, walking, and doing squats. As much as I wish I had been able to run and workout through pregnancy, my body just wasn't having it. 

Eating: The only meat I really want to eat is pork, although I've been craving barbecue chicken (yes, chicken, that I haven't wanted to see for 33 weeks) for a few days. I haven't gotten brave enough to try it. Most vegetables and fruits work along with starches. I don't want anything that's too flavorful or anything that has garlic in it. I also am picky about the kind of salad dressing I'll eat. I've been craving things I can't eat like deli meat and goat cheese.

Missing: These things have stayed the same: playing with my boys like normal, running, Chickfila, and my normal body.

Thoughts: I can't believe that I'll be full term in about 3.5 weeks. It's crazy to think about. At this point, I'm thinking primarily about delivery. I know I can't control that, but I'm determined to do what I can to prepare for it. Call me crazy as most everyone has done, but I want to try for a natural birth. I'm not set on it to the extent I won't consider an epidural, but in my normal, non-labor state, the thought of an epidural and its side effects is scarier to me than labor pain. That could change. If any of you have any natural birth stories or tips you want to share with me for encouragement, I'd love them!

I can't wait to see him! I am in awe of this process and what our bodies are capable of. This is a miracle. The excitement in our home about this new member of our family is palpable and that makes me happy.




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Two Months.



Two months. 61 days until our sweet little baby boy is due.

Pregnancy -- these past eight months -- has been the most miraculous time in my life and also the most trying. Pregnancy, I've learned, is not for the faint of heart. I've experienced the highest of highs - those sweet kicks our baby boy does, seeing his smile on a 4D ultrasound, listening to our boys squeal with excitement as they prepare for their new brother - and some deep lows which are all centered around the all-day sickness I've experienced almost daily this entire pregnancy. I am not the normal do everything me and my body is not my own during this time, and I've had to accept that. I think I needed this sickness to slow down and let my body grow this baby. If we're ever blessed with a next time, I promise I'll slow down without sickness!

It is a surreal feeling to think that we'll meet our son in just two short months. I can't wait to see his smile, hold his squishy body, and see those little legs and arms that use me as a punching bag. I can't wait to see my husband become a father again and our boys become big brothers. I can't wait to smell that newborn goodness and hold him so tight.

Sweet little one, you are so loved already.

As we head into the home stretch of this pregnancy, there are so many things I don't want to forget:

-The way Kevin tells the baby goodbye in the morning.
-The way K.C. likes to feel him kick.
-The way Kaden talks to him and tells him that he's his big brother and he has a great family.
-The way K.C. was adamant that no matter what we named him, he was going to be calling him a certain name (which we've all agreed upon).
-The way Kevin and I talk about his arrival and what life will be like.
-The way Kaden asked if he just holds the baby over his crib and drops him since he can't reach the mattress.
-The way K.C. wants a baby monitor in his room so he can watch the baby all the time.
-The way it feels when I wake up in the night and feel him doing flips.
-The way it feels when we get to hear his heartbeat or see him on the screen.

It has been so much fun seeing the excitement the boys have over their baby brother. They are already such good big brothers. They will be great teachers and always great examples, I pray. Being a mother is the greatest gift in this world. I'm so thankful God has given me this gift of three boys to love, nurture, laugh with, and grow with.

As the days fly by, I know our lives are going to change. I want to soak up every minute that we have as a family of four as we prepare to welcome our newest family member. I can tell that I'm moving slower and with that comes the realization that his birth is near. I want to spend these next weeks preparing for our baby - praying for him and for us, finishing up everything that I'd like to do before he arrives, sneaking in some dates with my husband and some one-on-one time with my boys.

The anticipation and expectation of his arrival fills me with an inexpressible joy.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15


Monday, November 14, 2016

PREGNANCY | 31 Week Update



Week: 31! I can't believe it! These last few weeks have flown by and judging by what all we have coming up, the next nine weeks will too.

Weight Gain: I'm up 27 pounds as of my appointment this past Tuesday. 

What's Happening: The baby is growing, growing, growing! We had a 4D ultrasound on Tuesday. He kept his hands in front of his face most of the time, but he has a cute nose! He also smiled and stuck out his tongue. It was cute!

Feeling: Overall, I'm feeling good. I still battle nausea almost daily and have gotten sick sporadically, but otherwise, I'm feeling good. I feel like my stomach has doubled in size over the past few days too! My back has started to hurt some at night, but I know it's from all the extra weight I'm carrying. I'm also getting tired easier. I don't feel as exhausted as I did the first 15 weeks or so, but I am increasingly tired.

Sleep: I'm sleeping ok. Some nights are better than others. I'm thankful for my Leecho. I have a hard time getting comfortable and find that I want to lie on my back, something I don't do in regular life and something I know not to do in pregnancy. 

Wearing: Maternity pants, mostly regular dresses and some tops, and maternity tanks. 

Exercise: I'm trying to stay as active as I can. That said, I haven't exercised the way I thought I would. When your body is consistently nauseous, it's hard to exercise. I'm counting down the days until the baby is born and until I can exercise normally again!

Eating: Whatever works, which these days, seems to be anything starchy, most vegetables, soup (especially vegetable beef) and pork. I don't want anything to do with chicken or peanut butter.

Missing: Running, Chickfila, and my normal body. 

Thoughts: Pregnancy is a blessing. This miracle growing inside me astounds me every day. I'm so thankful for this little boy and can't wait to meet him! God has blessed us! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November Goals and October in Review

I know I say this every month, but I can't believe it's already November - the second week of the month, no less. I have a number of goals for this month that I've finally gotten around to typing. With the holidays approaching and then the arrival of our baby boy, the next few months will be quite fun.

Before I go into my November goals, here's a recap of October.

October Goals: A Recap
I had some lofty goals in October, many of which I accomplished.
  • Purchase furniture for the nursery. This is done! We have a crib, chair, dresser, and bookcase.
  • Register for the baby. Kevin and I had a fun time registering for the baby. I can't believe I didn't take a picture. The boys and I were in Target before we officially registered and they each picked out a few things they thought the baby needed. We made sure to include those!
  • Continue Christmas shopping. I'm happy to say that I'm more than halfway done with my Christmas shopping and all but one gift is wrapped!
  • Finish the guest room/office. We did this with the exception of the finishing touches on the walls. The furniture is arranged, new bedding is there, and the color is perfect.
  • Paint the boys' bedroom and bathroom. We finished half of this. The bathroom is done, but after spending the better part of three weekends painting, we needed a break. Painting the boys' bedroom is on the agenda for this weekend.
  • Read three books. I read bits and pieces of a few books in October. I'll recap in a separate post.
  • Journal what I'm reading in the Bible. I feel ashamed that this goal is one I haven't done. I journal prayers, but I haven't been journaling what I'm reading each day.
  • Work on the boys' books. This didn't happen!

November Goals

  • Finish the boys' bedroom. 
  • Finish Christmas shopping.
  • Get accessories for the nursery.
  • Purge books.
  • Organize some cabinets in the kitchen and some drawers in my dresser.
  • Write thank you notes after each shower.
  • Finish Christmas cards.

What are your goals for November?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Favorites| 11.4.16

Friday, how I've missed you! Blogging, how I've missed you! Life has been crazy lately - a good crazy, but crazy nonetheless. What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a quick Friday Favorites post.


One | Halloween
We had a fun Halloween! My SIL has everyone over on Halloween night and I think it's safe to say I'm not the only one who enjoys it. We usually trick-or-treat in her neighborhood as ours is insane. The boys were both scary things this year. I'm not sure how I feel about my sweet boys looking so scary. Also, K.C. says he's not dressing up next year because he wants to scare people. They may have already decided that the baby is going to be a pumpkin.


Two | We're getting excited for the baby!
It's hard to believe that in just ten shorts weeks, our newest baby boy will be joining our family. He has a name, a crib, two really excited big brothers, and a mama and daddy who can't wait to meet him. Also, be still my heart. The boys are all about helping Kevin put together everything for their baby brother's nursery.


Three | Our big boy has joined the Book Club! 
Both of our boys love to read. I'm so thankful for this. K.C. is old enough for an invitation-only book club at his school and this year, he was invited to join it. He was so excited when he received his invitation. We're so proud of both of our sweet boys!


Four | Clemson Weekend with Family!
We spent a long weekend in Clemson in mid-October with my family and our friends from Germany. We went to the Clemson/NC State game which was nothing short of a nail-bitter. When NC State missed their field goal at the very end of the game, I had one (Kaden) who popped up from my seat where he had been sleeping asking if he'd been asleep and another one (K.C.) with tears because he was so excited (we're in overtime and didn't lose) and stressed. K.C. said it best as we walked back to our tailgate after the game: I don't know how to feel, happy or just stressed! Welcome to the world of being a sports fan, sweet boy. My husband, of course, is eating it up that our boys are starting to get into watching sports with him.



Five | Fall Friday Nights
Last Friday night, Kevin and I went to watch our niece cheer in her final football game as she's a senior this year. It was nice being outside in the cooler weather, and of course, with my favorite person.



That's just a little snippet of our life lately. I can't believe Halloween is already over and it's almost time for Thanksgiving. We have so many things to look forward to in the next two and a half months as we eagerly await the arrival of our newest love.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

PREGNANCY | 28 Weeks



Week: 28 - Hello, Third Trimester!

Weight Gain: I'm officially up 21 pounds. I go back to the doctor on November 8, so we'll see where I am then. The baby is gaining close to half a pound a week at this point which means mama is too!

What's Happening: Our sweet boy is really active! He moves around in a pretty regular pattern. His kicks are getting harder and harder.

Feeling: I'm feeling much better than I have. Pregnancy, up to this point, has been rough for me, but it's all worth it. I also feel really heavy.

Sleep: I've been sleeping well this week. I've cut back on the use of my phone when I'm lying in bed at night and I've been more cognizant of winding down. I think both of those things have helped. I've also noticed that the tired feeling I had for the first trimester and a half seems to have returned.

Wearing: Maternity skinny pants (see my post on maternity wear), regular dresses, and tops that are a size larger or looser fitting. This part has been tricky. There are some mornings when I try on three or four things before I find something that fits.

Exercise: I'm not exercising the way I'd like to, but I am staying active. It's nice. In addition to my countdown for the baby, I have a mental countdown for when I can run again. I'm looking forward to that day.

Eating: Whatever works. I don't have strong cravings, but I have strong aversions. I'm incorporating a salad at least once a day and more and more fruit. I don't want junk food, but I do want bacon. I'm not sure if that's a fair trade.

Missing: I continue to miss running, Chickfila, soft cheeses, and my normal body. I also miss being able to pick up my boys. K.C. thinks that he'll be too heavy for me to lift when the baby is born.

Thoughts: This miracle continues to astound me each day. One of the greatest feelings is when my little boy kicks throughout the day - and night. It's almost as if he's communicating with us.

It's hard to believe that he'll be here in eleven short weeks. I'm so thankful every day for this miracle of life!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

PREGNANCY | 25 Week Update


Week: 25

Weight Gain: I go back to the doctor next week, so I'll see, but I think I'm up about 18 pounds from where I officially started which means this time, I haven't gained 2 pounds each week! That's a win!

What's Happening: The baby is very active! I love feeling him move around. I've been able to discern his movement patterns, too, which is really cool! He's starting to open his eyes, weighs about 1.5 pounds, and is over a foot long!

Feeling: I feel like a person again! I've been feeling better every week for about 3 weeks. I'm excited about all that is to come!

Sleep: Sleep comes and goes. Some nights, I sleep great, but others, I toss and turn for hours.

Wearing: Maternity skinny pants (see my post on maternity wear), regular dresses, and tops that are a size larger or looser fitting.

Exercise: I'm not following an exercise plan per se, but I am being active every day. We're walking a few miles most days and I'm staying active throughout the day. We've also been cleaning out things and getting the nursery ready, which feels like exercise!

Eating: I still don't have definite cravings, but I have fewer aversions than I did have. I don't want chicken in any fashion. I've started eating more fruits and vegetables. I'm also to the point where I've been able to drink juice, something I haven't been able to do since June. Occasionally, I want something sweet, but not too often, which bodes will for the glucose test I have to take next week. I don't want hardly any junk food. While my tastes aren't back to normal, I'm glad to be eating salads, fruit, and healthier meals than the subs and bacon sandwiches I was consuming most days.

Missing: Running, Chickfila, soft cheeses, and my normal body. Pregnancy is a huge miracle - this is I know - but I forget that I can't do everything in my normal way.

Thoughts: K.C. has felt him kick hard before, but Kaden hasn't. A few nights ago, he felt him kick hard for the first time and his face was priceless! I love that the boys are so excited about their baby brother! We've ordered a crib and chair for the nursery and have it painted. At this point, pregnancy is flying by. I'm shocked at how the pace seems to have picked up since I've started feeling better.

My most favorite feeling in the world is feeling the baby kick. It's incredible to me that there is life growing inside of me. I love that he seems to respond to different outside stimuli. I am so thankful for this gift and can't wait to meet him in about 14 weeks!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October Goals and September in Review

October is one of my favorite months of the year. That may have something to do with the fact that it's the month Kevin and I were married. Next Thursday, we'll celebrate our fourth anniversary! It seems like forever ago and just yesterday all at once!

Before I dive into my goals for October, here's a look back at how I did in September.

  • Clean out all bedroom closets and drawers upstairs. We did pretty good on this. We haven't completely cleaned out all the bedroom closets upstairs, but we did clean out the drawers. The people at Goodwill know us by name.
  • Finish organizing the boys' older schoolwork and papers that we want to save. I did this! This was a massive job, thus I've put it off for forever! I'm thankful to be done with this. 
  • Journal what I'm reading in the Bible. I didn't do a great job of this in September. I read my Bible, but I didn't journal it like I wanted to.
  • Continue Christmas shopping. This is going well! 
  • Register for the baby! We did not register for the baby, but we'll get it done. 
  • Read three books. 
In September, I read The Island and The Rumor, both by Elin Hilderbrand and The Choice by Nicholas Sparks. I'm also working through The Big Book of Birth and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems

           
     
  • Make a list of fall activities the boys want to do. We didn't make an official list, but we've already started doing things.
  • Work on the boys 6 and 8 books. This didn't happen.

Time is flying by for me at this point in pregnancy. I told my husband a few days ago that I don't remember anything much from the past six months, but the past few weeks as I've started feeling better are zooming. That said, October is a time when we really need to get some things completed. As you can see from the list below, many of these are centered around getting ready for the baby. It's hard to believe there are only 14 weeks until my due date!
  • Purchase furniture for the nursery. The nursery is painted, the rug is in and the bedding was just delivered. We need to get a crib, dresser and chair.
  • Register for the baby. I have a few showers coming up in November, so we really need to register by the middle of the month before the invitations go out. 
  • Continue Christmas shopping. We're doing pretty good with this, but it's time to start focusing on the big items we'd like to get the boys. They keep showing us things, so I need to start clicking "Add to Cart" in Amazon. I love Amazon prime!
  • Finish the guest room/office. This room is also painted, but we need to get it rearranged. I also want to get a new comforter for the bed.
  • Paint the boys' bedroom and bathroom. Two of the four rooms we're painting are done and these two are left. 
  • Read three books. I'm really enjoying spending my lunch hour reading each day. It's nice! I have a few books on my list for this month.
  • Journal what I'm reading in the Bible. I really want to get back to this!
  • Work on the boys' books. If I want to order these in time for Christmas, I need to get started!

What are your goals for October?

Are there any must-haves on your baby registry list?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Life Lately | 9.29.16

In the midst of a hectic week, sometimes you need just a quick Life Lately post. Here's what we've been up to the last few weeks.

1 | Kaden has a broken arm. I think second grade must be the year of arm breaks for our family. Both boys have officially broken their arm in second grade. Kaden was definitely more excited about it than K.C. was a few years ago. He wanted to have his cast signed and is very proud of his "American" cast. Thankfully, it's not a bad break and he only has to wear his cast a few more weeks.



2 | Our sweet boy's nursery is coming right along! We've been really busy rearranging and donating things in preparation for the baby's arrival. I never knew how much stuff we had. It's crazy. I think the people at Goodwill know us by name. Cleaning out an attic and switching two rooms around are logical things to do when you're pregnant, right? Oh, and painting three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, too. My husband is a saint.

  

I can't wait to share all the nursery details as it starts coming together!

3 | We're writing a book. As we were riding home from church Sunday, the boys started talking about how they thought it would be fun to write a book. When we got home, they insisted we start, so we sat down, opened the laptop, and started writing. I'm pretty excited about this!


4 | Saturdays are more fun when they include trips to the bookstore and Target. Last Saturday, the boys and I ran out to Barnes and Noble to pick up a few books and ended up with eleven. I think it's safe to say our boys have inherited my love of books and Starbucks. We also made a quick trip into Target where they wanted to look at all things baby. K.C. is determined to have a baby monitor in his room. I love popping out for a bit with my favorite little boys!

  


5 | In two short weeks, we will celebrate our fourth anniversary! I can't believe it's been four years already. It seems like just yesterday, and yet I can't remember my life before Kevin.





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Learning to be Still

{ Psalm 62:5 } Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.:

I've been thinking a good bit lately about being still. For the past six months, my life has not looked like my own. I've slowed down considerably, I've cut down on commitments, and I've learned to rely on others. Those are the things I've had to do to make it to this point in pregnancy.

Despite those things, I find that my mind is constantly buzzing. It's filled with all sorts of thoughts.
Should we put the baby in a cradle in our room or start him off in his nursery?I need to remember to send in treats for our son's Friday treats.We need to find tickets for the Clemson game in a few weeks. Is my husband tired of me not feeling well?Should we go with a bright nursery or a calm one? Is my sister doing ok? Is it horrible that I don't feel like going to choir during this season? Do I seem slack because I'm not doing as many things as I used to? Are the boys going to forget how much I love being on the floor playing with them and running around with them? Am I going to feel like going out on a date for our anniversary next month? Am I ever going to feel like myself again? This miracle growing inside me gives me an inexpressible joy. What is this world coming to? I need to read my Bible more. I need to visit my grandmother.
Why can't I just be still?
You get the point. My mind isn't still. Ever.

Sometimes, I think it's a curse to have a mind that constantly thinks, but other times, I'm thankful that I have so many people and things to be thinking about. One thing that's a constant though, is my thought about not being able to be still.

I think it's somehow written on my DNA that I think I have to constantly be doing something. I feel like a failure and a slacker if I sit down without doing something. Yes, it's gotten better over these past six months of pregnancy, but I wonder if when the baby is born and I'm no longer feeling rotten, will I revert to my normal thinking of equating stillness with failing?

That's not how it should be and that's not how I want it to be.

For me, and maybe for you, this inability to just sit still and not be constantly stimulated is born, I believe, through the lives we live. Think about your life. How often are you quiet? How often do you have time (or make time) to be still?

I know, for me, it feels weird to be still. Even when I'm still, I'm not really still. I find myself scrolling through Instagram while watching TV and having a conversation with my husband. My mind is focused on three things at once, which means it's really not focusing on any of those things at all.

When I'm at work, I have a list of tasks I want to complete each day and do so while listening to Spotify and taking a break to check the news and read a thing or two. At home, I'll straighten up the kitchen while making breakfast and talking with my kids.

Do you see a pattern? It's very rare for me to focus on one thing at a time. Often, my focus is on two or three things at once, which is great when I'm cleaning, but not great when it comes to spending time with my family or taking time to be still.

The Bible tells us that Jesus went out alone to pray (Matthew 14:23). He, the Son of God, needed time away from His regular life to recharge and connect with His Father. I need the same thing, but I find it hard to do this.

This week, I'm challenging myself to be still. I want to learn to quiet my thoughts and not have my mind buzzing a million miles per hour. I long for time with my Savior to reflect and recharge, but I can't have this successfully when I'm constantly thinking of everything else. I'm giving myself a mandatory time out to just focus on nothing for a few minutes each day and see where that leads. Most of all, I'm giving myself grace to learn how to be still during this season of my life.


What are some things you do to help quiet your mind and be still?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's Fall, Y'all!

Even though the unofficial welcome to Fall was a few weeks ago with the resurgence of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, today is the official first day of one of my favorite seasons! Here are a few reasons why Fall is one of my favorite seasons.

1 | It's officially ok to wear yoga pants everywhere. I love lounging in my yoga pants and like that it's now socially acceptable to wear them places like the grocery store. You know, because nothing is better than looking like you've been to the gym when you really haven't.

2 | The best holidays are just around the corner. I love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas (I know Christmas is in the Winter, but it's a mere few days after the end of Fall).

3 | Pumpkin everything. Give me all the pumpkin. It's so good.

4 | Fall traditions. I love decorating for Fall. I love pumpkins around my house, my dining room centerpiece, and Fall candles. I love carving pumpkins, decorating for Halloween, and picking out candy. I love trick-or-treating, turkey and dressing, and cranberry sauce. This is just a fun time of year!

5 | Fall is just cozy. I like being able to wear skinny jeans, long sleeve tees, and jackets. I love bundling up under a blanket, reading a book, turning the fire on and drinking hot chocolate.

What are your favorite things about Fall?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So Long, Wedges! & Other Thoughts on Maternity Style

When I first found out I was pregnant, my first thought wasn't I can't wait to buy maternity clothes! It was more along the lines of I'm going to wear all my skinny clothes as long as I can! As long as I can turned out to be a few weeks, as the bloating associated with early pregnancy is really a thing, y'all! 

That said, the thought of purchasing a whole new wardrobe for this time in my life didn't (and still doesn't) excite me. Call me cheap, but I don't want to spend a fortune on clothes I won't wear unless I'm pregnant. 

Up until this point, I've been able to wear many of my normal dresses -- well, except the ones with a normal waist that zip up! Since I wear mainly dresses and pencil skirts (which I obviously can't wear now) to work during this time of year, I haven't had to worry too much about work attire.


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Since it's still warm here, I've been sticking with flats along the lines of Jack Rogers or wedges, that is until yesterday. Yesterday is now known to me as the last time I'll wear 4" wedges while pregnant. Why? you might ask. Because yesterday, my cute wedges and my baby belly gave me a really sore/skint knee. 

Here's how it happened: It was lunchtime and I was hungry. I drove over to this little place I grab a quick lunch from sometimes and parked in the closest spot, one that just so happened to be beside the curb and flower bed. I got out of my car, balanced on the curb, and then somehow - I think I stepped into the flower bed with part of my left shoe - went flying onto the cement. It was almost a slow motion fall, and thankfully, I had enough sense to try to get low before I hit the ground (really, I thought I could balance myself because in non-pregnancy life, I'm not the least bit clumsy). All I could think about was the baby and not hitting my stomach, so I let my right knee, foot and hip take the brunt of the fall. Talk about embarrassed! I jumped back into my car to compose myself when I realized I had essentially scraped off the skin on my entire right kneecap. Yes, it's a great look with a nice dress and wedges! I called a colleague and asked her if she could run some band-aids out to me which she did. After cleaning up the scrap and putting on three band-aids, I went back to my lunch place and got a box to go. 

What did I learn from this other than how absolutely thankful I was that no one else was outside at the time to see my graceful descent? I learned that 4" wedges and pregnancy don't mix, not for me at least!

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Anyway, back to the clothes! While I'm thankful to have quite a few dresses that fit -- I think they'll last me through January -- pants, on the other hand, are a different story. 

Before I started looking at maternity clothes, I had no idea that there are some many options when it comes to the type of maternity pants you wear. Before buying a ton, I decided to order a pair from Old Navy. I really like Old Navy's Rockstar Skinny Jeans, and seeing that they sell those for expectant mamas, it seemed like a great idea to start there.

There are four different panel options (see below) you can choose from. I decided to go with the side panel. I have quite a belly already, but the full panel doesn't look like something I'd enjoy wearing. I want to still feel normal (as normal as you can when you're carrying a child) and part of that is wearing clothes that don't look like maternity clothes. Enter, the side panel pant. These pants look identical to regular dress pants from Old Navy -- they even have a fake fly -- but they have a nice side elastic band. 



I ordered two pairs - a pair of jeans and a pair of black pants - and I'm pleased with both. So pleased, in fact, that I've ordered another pair along with some maternity tops. Despite buying some medium t-shirts to wear around, I've quickly discovered that a larger size just doesn't cut it. I need something with a shirred side.

Here are the styles I've purchased up to this point:




The shirts haven't come in yet, so I can't tell you how they feel, but if the pants are any indication, I'm going to love them.

What are your go-to maternity clothing items?

Disclaimer: I was not given anything in exchange for this post of adoration for Old Navy's maternity wear. I simply love what I've purchased and wanted to share!

Monday, September 19, 2016

9 Things NOT to Say to Someone Suffering from Severe Morning Sickness

Y'all, pregnancy is no joke. It is hard. I am usually the last person to complain about anything, won't take medicine unless it's absolutely necessary and feel like I can push through about anything. Pregnancy though, has knocked me off my feet in a way I didn't dream would happen.

Sure, I wasn't naive enough to think I would get by without experiencing many of the symptoms that go along with pregnancy - the fatigue, mood swings, bloating, food aversions, and nausea - but I didn't think it would hit me like it has. I'm ok with being bloated. I'm ok with not wanting to smell/taste certain things including my beloved Chickfila. I can handle being tired. I'm even fine with the increase in weepiness I seemed to feel for a few weeks. The nausea though? Please, just knock me out until it ends.

Before I was pregnant and even the first few days of this pregnancy, I was certain that I was going to be one of the lucky ones. My mom wasn't sick a day with me, I don't have a particularly weak stomach or get "sea sick," and I was full of energy. Fast forward to four days after I found out I was pregnant (approximately week 4), and I had to rush to the restroom during lunch with a friend.

That day was May 10. When I began writing this post, it was July 7 (you can laugh, but it's taken me until September 19 to finish my thoughts on this touchy subject -- and fear of it starting up again!), and at the time, the longest I had gone without getting sick since May 10 was three days. That's right. Those three days were close to July 7, too. In fact, July 9 was probably the worse day I experienced in regards to sickness. I don't even want to pull that day from my memory.

I'm grateful for this time. I feel like if I tell myself that over and over, it'll make it better. Truth is, I really don't think there's any real remedy for morning sickness. It could be worse - I could be one of the poor women in the hospital with hypermesis gravidum. I'm thankful I'm not. One thing is for sure, morning sickness, no matter the severity, is not something I'd wish upon my worst enemy.

That said, the five months of feeling closer to death than I ever thought possible, have brought with them loads of advice, some requested, most not. As I was attempting to make it through a day without getting sick earlier this summer, I joked to Kevin that I should make a list of things not to say to pregnant women who are dealing with morning sickness - the name itself needs to be changed. Hence, this post.

Here's my list of 9 things not to say to pregnant women dealing with any form of morning sickness, in no particular order.

Image result for morning sickness meme

Disclaimer: Family and friends, we pregnant ladies know you mean well. We know you are trying to encourage us. We know you want us to feel better and feel helpless than you can't make everything ok. Please, though, while we're dealing with this side effect of one of the best things to happen to us, just shut up!

1 | Eat some crackers. If I had $1.00 for every time this adage has been said to me, the baby's room would be furnished and he'd have clothes to last until at least his third birthday. Crackers may work for some people, but for others, they don't. I wish I could eat some crackers and have the sickness subside, but for me, crackers of any kind (unless they are Captain Wafers individually wrapped from a local restaurant and dipped into homemade Ranch) make me sick.

2 | Keep food beside your bed and eat it before you get up. Yes, this sounds like a great idea since it seems so much of morning sickness is based on an empty stomach, but this one didn't work for me either.

3 | Drink Ginger Ale or other carbonated beverages. In regular life when you're hit with a virus, you're told to drink Ginger Ale or a carbonated beverage to settle your stomach. I don't like Ginger Ale when not pregnant and tasting it while pregnant was ever worse (trust me, I tried everything). I went through a phase of about two weeks where I could drink ice cold Coke, but then I started loosing it. Again, for me, this one didn't work.

4 | You'll forget about it as soon as you're not feeling sick. As much as I'd like this to be true, it's simply not for me. I may be too close to the sickness -- I'm 23 weeks and have felt like a human for about three, though it has been more like six weeks since I've gotten sick.

5 | It's going to be a girl! That one was wrong!

6 | At least you know the baby is healthy. True. It's been long-reported that the high level of hormones produced during pregnancy are linked with morning sickness. I'm also thankful that I have a healthy baby, but while this part makes me feel better emotionally knowing that the baby is healthy, it doesn't really do anything for the physical side of it.

7 | You'll feel better by X weeks! While I have to say this was a great thing to hear and gave me so much hope, every time X week passed and I didn't feel better, it was bad. I know every pregnancy is different, but when the majority of people you know that have suffered from morning sickness feel good by 13 or 14 weeks, you count on that to at least be the standard. For me, it was 20 weeks and even then, it wasn't great.

8 | Don't take medicine for nausea. Whether you take medicine for nausea or not is a deeply personal decision and one I only shared with those I know well. I am not a proponent of medication in normal day-to-day life unless it's really needed. I'm on the other end of the spectrum from a pill popper, but nausea? That was a different story for me. I started taking Diclegis around 8 weeks when I could barely make it through the day. I held off on Zofran until about 11 weeks (after all the organs were formed per my doctor). At that point, I took two child doses a day though I could have taken more. It made a huge difference! While I still threw up some with the Zofran (and not being on it all the time was more than likely part of that), I was able to function and keep foods down for the most part. After about six weeks, I was able to cut it down to once a day at lunch. Last week, I've halved it, so I'm only taking 2 mg at lunch each day. I'm also using Diclegis, but instead of three pills per day, I'm taking one at night. Even though I wish I was past the point of taking something, I'm not, though I feel like in the next few weeks I'll be able to eliminate it all.

9 | Don't you think pregnancy is the best? I've not ever been a jealous person, but I have been really envious of those I know who tell me about their easy pregnancies. Yes, pregnancy is by far one of the greatest things to ever happen to me and something I am thankful for every second of every day, but it's also the hardest thing I've ever done. It has not been a walk in the park. Does this mean I'm not thankful? Absolutely not. This baby is so loved and so prayed for and no amount of sickness can change that. I've said over and over if I have to be sick like this until January, it'll be worth it. It will be.

What are some things people have said to you during pregnancy that make you cringe?