Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY | 8.31.16 Edition

I'm linking up with Mix and Match Mama, Sheaffer Told Me To, and The Larson Lingo for What's Up Wednesday!

1. What we're eating...



Subway! I'm really not joking when I say that I've eaten Subway almost every day for the past month. There's something about meatball subs that this pregnant lady needs. Please tell me I won't continue this trend post-baby!


2. What I'm reminiscing about...




Fall. The weather, Halloween, and fun times with family.


3. What I'm loving...

Getting back into the swing of things and on a routine. I really like routine, so I always enjoy this time of year when we get back to our normal routine. Don't get my wrong, I love summer and not having so many commitments, but there's something about the start of a new school year and fall that I love.


4. What we've been up to...

We're getting back into the swing of things with school and fall activities. School is going really well for both our boys. They're also enjoying soccer.

5. What I'm dreading...

Going to the dentist! I don't like going to the dentist in regular life (I do go for my twice-a-year cleanings) and the thought of going while pregnant and not feeling great doesn't excite me. Nevertheless, I'll be hanging out there later today.

6. What I'm working on...

Cleaning out what will become the nursery. We're switching a few rooms around to get ready for our baby boy. It's a pretty daunting task, but we're excited to pull everything together! 

7. What's I'm excited about...


Getting everything moved around upstairs so we can start on the nursery. What is currently our office/work out room is becoming the nursery and an extra bedroom is going to be the office/work out room. I'm also really excited for fall weather and watching Clemson football!

8. What I'm watching/reading...



I just finished reading The Island by Elin Hilderbrand. It was a great book! 



I'm in the middle of The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. 

Now that the Olympics are over, I'm not watching much on TV. I need to find a good show to watch this fall now that I seem to have more downtime on my hands. Send me your suggestions!

9. What I'm listening to...


I've been listening to jazz lately. It's a nice way to ride home from work and unwind. My favorites at the moments are an old Steve Tyrell CD called Standard Time and a Starbuck's Norah Jones collection disc from ten or so years ago. 

10. What I'm wearing...

Comfortable dresses. Since my favorite pencil skirts obviously won't fit me, I've been living in dresses for work and some J.Crew shorts and tops on the weekend. I'm really excited to be able to wear the new maternity skinny pants I have when the weather gets cooler. When I tried them on, I decided that I don't know if I ever want to wear regular pants again. 


11. What I'm doing this weekend...

I'm looking forward to a low-key weekend. The boys have soccer Friday night, but other than that, we don't have anything we have to do. We're planning to work on the baby's room some, watch the Clemson game Saturday night, and go to church on Sunday. 


12. What I'm looking forward to next month...

I can't believe a new month starts tomorrow! I'm looking forward to the fall weather, working on our baby's room, and making a baby registry. 


13. What else is new...

I'm finally feeling better and so thankful for that! 

I've also started Christmas shopping. I don't ever start this early, but with the baby due right after Christmas, I thought I'd need a head start!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

PREGNANCY | 20 Weeks Down!

I can't believe that I am halfway through this pregnancy! It seems like just yesterday we found out we are expecting and here we are, halfway through! It's crazy to think that in a few short months, we'll be meeting the newest member of our family!

(Look at my great posture in this picture!)

Weeks: 18-20

Weight Gain: I'm up about 14 pounds total from what I think was my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm only up about 10 pounds from my first regular appointment weight. I weighed 120 at my 18 week appointment and when I weighed this weekend, I was up to 122. At this point, I only seem to have gained weight in my stomach. My thighs are a little bigger, but I think that's to be expected without running like normal.

What's Happening: The baby is moving like crazy! He can hear and his hair is beginning to grow!
At our 18 week appointment, I had the anatomy ultrasound. It was awesome to see him moving around! At that point, he weighed about 9 ounces. I'm so thankful for a great report and healthy baby!

Feeling: Much better! Around week 19, I started feeling better. I still have moments of nausea (and am still taking anti-nausea medicine), but overall, I feel more like a person. My energy is increasing!

I am able to feel the baby move a good bit. It's so exciting! I notice him moving more at night when I'm still. In church Sunday, he started moving each time we stopped singing.

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty good most nights. I fall asleep pretty early (by 10 or so at the latest) and sleep until about 6:30 every weekday morning. I've slept a little later on the weekends which has been nice. At one point, I was waking up about once a night for about an hour, but that seems to have passed.

Wearing: I'm wearing my regular dresses, shorts a size up, and my regular, non-fitted tops. I ordered a few pairs of skinny maternity pants because I feel like I'm going to wake up one day and need something for cool weather. (I have a post coming on maternity fashion in the next week.)

Exercise: Unfortunately, not as much as I'd like. I'm doing squats and walking some most every day, but that's about the extent of it. I've done a few prenatal workout videos on the weekend. By the time I make it home from work, I'm exhausted and feel like I need to rest.

Eating: Whatever I can. I've been stuck on meatball subs from Subway for about 3 weeks. I don't even like subs in real life. I'm also eating waffles every morning as soon as I get up. I've been wanting really hearty things like beef stew with potatoes and carrots and anything that's meaty and tomato-based. Chicken is ok as long as it's barbecued on the grill, but I've not been able to eat regular chicken from Chickfila. Fruits are starting to be more appealing again which makes me happy!

Missing: Running and Chickfila. I've been dreaming about them both. I don't know what's worse - that I'm dreaming about exercise or food! Since I was told not to sweat once I started getting so sick early on, I haven't run in about four months (I don't even like to think about this!). At this point in my pregnancy, I don't feel like it's good to start it back nor do I have the energy to run.

I always said I was going to run throughout my pregnancy, but if this pregnancy has taught me anything, it's that I am not in control! Good intentions are just that - good intentions.

Thoughts: I am just crazy excited about this little baby! I can't believe that we've made it to the halfway point. I'm in awe of all the changes going on in both him and me. I get more excited every day!

I'm praising God for providing me with a respite from being sick at just the right time. It seems like as soon as we were getting back into the swing of things with school for the boys, our regular fall activities, and my normal work schedule, I started feeling better. God is good!

I'm looking forward to deciding on a nursery, finalizing a name (harder than I ever thought!), and registering. We are all so happy about this baby!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up

Is it just me or do weekends seem to fly by? 

We had a really nice weekend! It started out with soccer practice Friday night. For the first time in years, the boys are not on the same soccer team. Since Kevin is coaching Kaden's team and K.C.'s team practices at the same time, I've been watching K.C.'s practices. I'm so proud of how well he's doing!

After soccer, we stopped by Subway (my current - and only - craving) and got something quick to eat, then Kaden and I went to a local place to get shaved ice.


Saturday was full and fun. We started the day off at a party for Kaden's Sunday school class. The whole family was invited and we had fun!



We spent Saturday afternoon at my parents. My dad's dog had puppies and the boys loved playing with them. My mom has been going through some things and had all these musical instruments out in their living room. To say the kids enjoyed them is an understatement!





Yesterday was the last Sunday Kevin and I are teaching Sunday School for the year. The new church year starts next week and we decided to take a break from teaching this year with the new baby coming. I've enjoyed teaching the last three years, but I'm looking forward to going back to Sunday School myself.



After church, we went over to my in laws for lunch and visited. When we got home, the boys played with their Thomas trains. It's crazy - we were getting ready to pack away the trains because they haven't used them in around two years, but once they saw them getting ready to go in the attic, they decided to start building. They must've built at least five different tracks during the weekend alone! They also had fun seeing how many pieces of track they could balance.



All in all, it was a great weekend! I'm so thankful to be feeling better and able to get out some!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

SUMMER 2016 RECAP

I can't believe summer is over. On one hand, it feels like it went by in a flash, and on the other, it feels like it was the longest summer ever.

We had a really nice summer overall. The summer really started out with a bang when we found out we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy! Telling the boys that they are going to be big brothers was really exciting! We wrote letters on individual cards that they had to unscramble that read "Big Brothers - January 2017!"




Our first trip of the summer was to Sapelo Island, GA. I've told you about Sapelo before. It is a magical place! Given that there isn't really anything to do, we took advantage of the relaxation. We lounged on the beach, slept late, and spent afternoons in the boat watching dolphins and attempting to catch fish. One day, we even saw a manatee!








We were home a week and then headed to the beach for a week with my family. The boys had a blast! They enjoyed boogie boarding, boat riding, fishing, playing putt putt, and going to the arcade. We went shell hunting one morning and found a few nice conchs, too!




Checkers was the game of the summer!

This boy lost one of his top front teeth and a few weeks later, lost the other!


In late July, we spent another week at the beach with Kevin's family. I was getting to the point where I wasn't sick daily during this time, so I was able to enjoy being on the beach some as long as there was a breeze and umbrella. This was another nice, low-key beach week.












All throughout our vacations, I couldn't help but think that our next year beach vacations will look different as we'll have our third baby boy with us!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

7 Books That Made My Summer | WHAT I'VE READ

Over the past few months, I've read seven books. Some, I've loved, while others, I've finished. Here's a list and my thoughts on each.


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin


Emily Giffin is one of my all-time favorite writers. In fact, she may be my favorite author. From Something Borrowed to First Comes Love, her books haven't ever disappointed me.

First Comes Love was different than Giffin's other novels, but it was just as good - maybe even better. It drew me in from the very first page and I could hardly put it down. I could picture myself in the book and I think you could, too. It's all about relationships and the complexities they bring. She does a great job of weaving the stories of two sister's together and examining the family dynamic through tragedy. I don't normally read her books looking for advice, but parts of this book definitely related to something a close friend has been dealing with and I was able to share a passage with her.


All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank


I've read almost every single one of Dorothea Benton Frank's books and loved most of them. I have to say, though, I really struggled with All Summer Long. It was a little different - and not set on one of the beloved barrier islands of SC - and I found myself having a really hard time finishing it. I hate to sound critical because I've loved everything I've read by her up to this point, but there was just something different about this one. I think the fact that I wasn't able to relate to the main characters could have had something to do with it, but it just wasn't the normal page-turner I'm used to having when I read Frank's books. Nonetheless, I finished it, and will read her next book next summer.


Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman


Long before I knew I was pregnant, I knew I would read Bringing Up Bebe. It's on many list of "must reads" for expectant moms and it did not disappoint. I'm very eager to establish a routine with my new baby boy when he arrives because quite frankly, I'm petrified of having a baby with nights and days mixed up and one who won't sleep. I love the advice in this book and I plan to put much of it to use next year. Granted, I know babies are all different and can't really be controlled, but I want to do what I can to try to have a good sleeping baby. 

Side note to all you mama's out there: Send sleep suggestions!


A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe


Mary Alice Monroe is another writer I love. I've read most of her books, too, and find that I usually have trouble putting them down. A Lowcountry Wedding was the final book in the Lowcountry Summer series, but reading it makes me long for another book in the series because, let's face it, one of my favorite character's was just introduced in this book! Being from the South, and South Carolina in particular where both the book is set and the author resides, many of the locations are familiar to me which is always nice.

If you haven't read this series, I'd encourage you to. It's great!


Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe


I've had this book for a while, but just read it. It falls into the category of "I had to make myself finish it." It's not bad by any means, it just took me longer to get invested in it than usual. The story line is interesting, but it's different than some of her other books. All of her novels deal with some type of natural environment issue and this was no different. 

The Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand


I've only read one other Hilderbrand novel and I have to say, she's quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I couldn't put this book down. Even though I could figure out how it was going to end, I didn't want to get to the end. I bawled my eyes out in this one (pregnancy hormones or not -- you'll cry). I've found that with both of her books I've read and the one I'm currently reading, you're sucked in immediately. 



I'm fascinated by First Ladies and certain First Families, so this was a book I didn't want to miss. It was great and offered so many tidbits of information about these women and their families. If you like the women and not necessarily the politics, you'll enjoy this book!

There you have it -- the last seven books I've read. Tell me: What are you reading?






Monday, August 22, 2016

5 Tips To Help You Get Back Into the Groove of School

I can't believe the 2016-2017 school year has already begun! The boys have been in school for a week already and both love it, thankfully! They each have many friends in their classes and love their teachers (I do, too!), but even with the excitement that surrounds the school year, it's sometimes hard to get back into the groove. Here are a few tips that help us get back into the groove.


1. Create Excitement Around the New School Year.
I don't know about you, but I always look forward to fresh starts, and a new school year is definitely one of those. By July, we're already talking about the next school year. The boys' get excited and I get excited. We have a tradition of doing "interviews" at the beginning and end of every school year, too. It's something that's fun to look back on and the boys always expect it.

2. Involve Your Kids in the Decision Making Process.
Growing up, I remember my mom would always take me to pick out my school supplies - from my book bag and lunch box to pencils and new clothes. This is something I look forward to doing each summer. Before school was even out in June, one of my boys had already decided what kind of book bag he wanted for this upcoming year. Taking them to Target to pick out their own school supplies really gets them involved and excited.

3. Enforce Bedtime Before the Night Before School
Kevin and I are pretty schedule-oriented and bedtime is no exception. We've found that our children thrive on a schedule, so it's something we are pretty strict about. As the boys have gotten older, we've relaxed some about bedtime during the summer and on Friday and Saturday nights, but we don't let the kids rule the roost when it comes to when they go to bed. Sure, it can be inconvenient at the time, but we've found that we're much better off the next day when our boys go to bed around the same time. During the school year, they're upstairs in their beds by 8:30. They take a little longer to go to sleep, but usually, they're both out no later than 9:15. During the summer and on weekends, we let them stay up a little later - 9 or 9:30 - but not veering too far off this routine helps us ease back into the regular 8:30 bedtime with minimal complaints.

4. Establish a Nighttime Routine.
With two kids with homework and working full-time, we don't have a lot of room for error at night. We want to make the most of our weekday nights and squeeze in a good amount of quality time together. In order to do that, it really helps to have a routine. The boys are used to this and know what to expect when we get home at the end of each day. Of course, in the summer, this is totally different as there is no homework to be done, but this is what works for us during the school year.

  • While Kevin and I work on dinner, the boys play. They're usually in the den or playroom right off of the kitchen, so we're able to talk with them about their days.
  • We eat dinner as a family. We have our kids take turns setting the table and cleaning it off.
  • After dinner, I put up the leftovers and make sandwiches (or whatever the boys are having the next day) for lunchboxes while Kevin is cleaning up the kitchen (yes, I have an awesome husband!).
  • We do homework as soon as the kitchen is clean. This takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
  • After homework, we have an hour or so to play before bath time.
  • At 8, we always have the boys take a bath and get ready for bed. This gives us a few more minutes to play and read while they wind down before taking them upstairs for bed.

5. Establish a Morning Routine
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'll just spell it out - we're all about a routine. The morning is no exception. Our alarm goes off around 6:25 and we're up by 6:30. I go straight to the kitchen to pull something together for breakfast (and these days, eat a waffle before I do anything else). A few minutes later, the boys make their way downstairs. Right now, we keep most of their clothes in our room so it's easier to get them out and ironed at night. We always put their clothes out for them and they'll get dressed and play while I finish breakfast. While I'm doing this, Kevin is getting ready for work. By the time the boys are dressed and he's ready, I have breakfast ready and they sit down to eat. I don't usually eat with them in the morning, and instead, take a quick shower while they finish breakfast and Kevin puts the dishes in the dishwasher. The boys then finish getting ready by brushing their teeth and putting on their shoes. I throw their sandwiches, fruit and a cold drink in their lunchboxes and send them off.

For us, it seems that having a routine that works and sticking with it helps us to stay organized and on top of things during the school year. Pumping the kids up about school and their new teachers and classmates is the icing on top. Please share your tips for getting back into the groove of school! I'm sure this time next year, we'll have a whole different routine as we add another baby boy to our family in January!


Friday, August 19, 2016

PREGNANCY | Weeks 14-17



Weeks: 14-17

Weight Gain: I'm up about 10 pounds from what I think I started at and about 4 pounds from my first weigh-in at the doctor.

What's Happening: The baby is growing! He's about the size of pear, has fingerprints forming, can distinguish light, and can hear!

Feeling: Weeks 14 and 15 were similar to the rest of my pregnancy by far, but each day, especially when Week 15 rolled around, seemed to get better. I was able to cut the nausea medicine I've been taking in half at about 15.5 weeks. We spent Week 15 at the beach and it was the best vacation I've had this summer. I was able to sit on the beach under the umbrella, play putt putt, and shop.

Sleep: I'm sleeping great for the most part. I haven't experienced waking up multiple times in the night. In Week 16, I started waking up about 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep for an hour, but I'll take that.

Wearing: Regular dresses and tops, J.Crew shorts a size up, and one pair of maternity skinny white jeans.

Exercise: I'm not doing as much as I'd like, but I am doing squats everyday and I've been walking more. One day during vacation, I made it almost two miles in the whole day. I was excited about that which is weird considering I used to run five miles on my lunch break!

Eating: Whatever sounds good at the moment. I haven't experienced intense cravings, but I have started to want meat.

Missing: Running, Chickfila, and my usual appetite and energy level.

Thoughts: I am so excited about our baby boy! Since I've started to feel better, I've been able to think about the fun things like the nursery and baby clothes! I am so thankful to God for this miracle and ask Him for guidance on raising our third son each day. It's sweet seeing how excited the boys are. Kaden will talk to the baby and kiss my stomach and K.C. has many questions about what the baby is doing and when he can feel him kick!

Monday, August 8, 2016

PREGNANCY | Weeks 9-13

Summer break is officially almost over! We're back from vacation and I have some updates for you on life and our baby boy! We'll start with pregnancy, weeks 9-13!

I didn't take many pictures of myself during these weeks. The picture below is on Father's Day with my dad. I was 10 weeks, 1 day at the time and had just gotten IV fluids at the hospital.
 

Weeks: 9-13

Weight Gain: About 7 pounds total, I think.

What's Happening: Baby is growing and I am, too!

Feeling: Sick. These weeks were by far the worst for me. The all-day sickness continued throughout and instead of mainly dry heaving, I'm full-on throwing up. Nope, it's not exciting. I'm thankful that the baby is healthy and will deal with this every day until January if that's what it takes! I'm also excited because we know we are having a boy!

Sleep: I'm sleeping good. I ordered a small pregnancy pillow (I used to laugh at them), but it's comfortable. I have the Leachco Snoogle Mini Compact Side Sleeper.

Wearing: I can't fit into my normal size 0 shorts, but I purchased four pairs of elastic-waist shorts from J.Crew in a 2. These fit really well. I'm wearing regular tops and dresses, but my pencil skirts won't be making an appearance until next year!

Exercise: None, unfortunately. It hasn't bothered me though. If I wasn't dealing with all-day sickness, I would be exercising, but at this point, the only exercise I'm getting is walking inside my house and at work.

Eating: I don't want protein in any form. I've been eating fruits, biscuits, waffles, cereal, and anything else I can keep down. I'm not able to drink water which is concerning, but I am drinking juice and tea and crunching ice.

Missing: Running, my appetite, and the ability to play with my kids and go out with my husband.

Thoughts: I'm so grateful for this sweet baby and thank God everyday for this pregnancy, but this is rough. To go from a healthy person with loads of energy to someone who can barely make it is not only physically, but emotionally challenging. I've known people with morning sickness, but I think this takes the cake. I'm not a complainer either, so you can imagine how bad I've been feeling for me to say all of these things.

I'm grateful for the most supportive and understanding husband in the world. Without Kevin, I don't know what I would do. He gives me cold wash cloths as I get sick, fixes whatever I can eat, does all the housework, lets me drive when we go the very few places we're going these days, teaches our Sunday School class, takes care of the boys, and makes sure that anything he can do to make me feel better is done. He is one of a kind.

I'm also thankful for the best boys in the world. The boys remind me when I'm feeling bad that it means their brother is healthy. They also tell me sweetly that it's ok that I'm not able to do our normal activities and all they care about is they get to see me. This helps more than you know.

Most of all, I'm thankful for this life growing inside of me! I can't wait to meet our baby boy!