Sep 16, 2014


Time sure is slipping away lately. That's a big downside of being an adult, in my opinion. Savoring the present takes a lot more work, and if you don' flies away faster than you ever thought possible. Remember when summers used to last forever and all you wanted was to be another year older? Yeah, me neither. It's been too long!

Our life lately has consisted mostly of stumbling through my endless to-do list while managing to spend lots of time together -- thank goodness. Call me pregnant, but I've really been enjoying being a bit of a hermit with Landon. I know our time together as just the two of us is coming to an end and as excited as I am to meet our little one, I'll forever love our first year + a month of marriage pre-baby. I've gotten to watch him grow into this incredible husband and soon to be father and it makes me teary eyed just thinking about it all. I'm so thankful for him and all that he does for us.

 (Always selfies, because I hate asking people to take pictures)

Last Saturday was a pretty perfect fall day here in Texas. I got to wear a chambray with leggings and a scarf to grab coffee with a friend in the morning, have a lazy afternoon nap with my husband, tailgate comfortably (the temperature didn't go above 70 all day!), and watch A&M kick some football booty from the couch. It was overcast and drizzly all day; the funny thing about that kind of weather is that is when I feel most alive. Granted, our falls/winters are pretty short here in Texas so I don't really remember the feeling of having "winter blues" too much anymore from when I lived up north. I'm sure I'd start to feel a little bummed out by January if I was constantly surrounded by snow and ice.

Of course, the humidity and temperature levels shot right back up the next day...but it's supposed to be rainy on and off for the rest of the week and I'm pretty pumped for that forecast.

One of the things we want to do before Zoe arrives is get some landscaping taken care of. We moved into our new home in the middle of summer and arrived to an overgrown front garden of foundation shrubs and two completely dead oak trees. We yanked up the trees and put down some sod as a placeholder. Yesterday, we headed out to a nursery to buy some new replacement trees -- plum trees! Even though Mexican plum trees are supposed to absolutely thrive in our area, every single store we asked didn't seem to have any idea what we were talking about. In the end, we ended up picking out two Japanese varieties that should help one another out pollination-wise. We also picked out some new plants for our front flower bed. Another goal is to build a couple of raised beds in the backyard (where not a single plant can be found) to grow some veggies, but we might have to wait on that.

Before you go, here are some of my favorites as of late:

This book. I snatched it up when it was on sale a few weeks ago through Amazon and couldn't put it down. I'm the type of "decorator" who has a hard time making a decision and usually ends up sticking to neutrals and putting off a project for fear that it won't turn out right and this book was a great kick in the pants.

This music, if you're feeling house-y: 1, 2.

Boots, boots, boots! (Not to be confused with this)

This blog.

This for sweet-tooth snacking.

Butternut squash EVERYTHING. But this was the best thing I've made with it in forever.

Finding this ball of fur looking guilty:

Okay, now you tell me your current favorites and what you've been up to lately. And, GO!

Sep 8, 2014

Bump Update: 30 Weeks

I had to be okay with not posting this on Wednesday/calling it Bump Day this week because quite frankly Wednesday came and went and I hadn't even drafted a post yet. (And now its Monday and I just remembered to take a picture of myself yesterday before mass. Oops) These weeks are just slipping by now; part of me loves that November will be here before we know it, but part of me is too busy freaking out that November will be here before we know it.

[Technically Week 31, but shh. Week 30 wasn't that much different.]

I had an appointment on Thursday and according to our doctor, homegirl is measuring just about average. I'll take that and pray she doesn't decide she wants to resemble a baby sumo wrestler instead within the coming weeks, which would make a natural delivery a little less fun/impossible. She's still in a great position and kicking up a storm. I feel like I have a little alien inside of me when I see her pushing up against my stomach. Landon always says "she's ready to come out!" which really freaks me out because for whatever reason I think that sounds like she's just going to burst through my stomach at any given moment. Even with her kicks and jabs, it's hard for me to believe there's a tiny human inside of me. I have a feeling after delivery I'm just going to be in a state of shock like "where did she come from? she was inside of me?!" as if I didn't even know I was pregnant this whole time.

We went to a class Thursday night on baby care at our hospital--my first, Landon's second (he went to a class for dads last month). First, there were snacks. They had MILK DUDS. I didn't expect these classes to come with snacks so this was a nice surprise. Our instructor was a labor and delivery nurse and I already found myself praying she would be around when I went in to deliver. I'm also incredibly satisfied with how our hospital seems to deal with everything. They encourage all the good stuff like immediate skin-to-skin contact and seem to be big on breastfeeding, so long as everyone is able, of course. They also seem to be very respectful of birth plans (I still have no idea if I'll have one or not though) which is nice. Maybe most hospitals are like this nowadays but it really reassured me in these departments.

Speaking of breastfeeding, I still have a lot to learn, but I did recently read the whole thing about how caffeine can make your baby fussy. I decided once again to give up caffeine via coffee, just like during the first trimester. I know I had been drinking less than the recommended amount but I guess it was affecting me more than I thought. This past week has been rough. Caffeine is no joke, y'all. I'm sure I'll still get bits of it through teas and chocolate, but the plan is to stock up on good decaf coffee and tea for after delivery and to try to minimize my intake as much as possible. Any thoughts from seasoned moms on this topic? Did caffeine make your babies fussy while you were breastfeeding?

Also: please remind me never to take sleeping comfortably for granted again. At this point, I'd rather wake up every few hours to a crying baby than wake up in pain every few hours from being so uncomfortable. Everyone says to sleep with lots of pillows wedged all over your body, but I think this is harder when you share a full-sized bed with your husband. There is no room for more pillows. The Snoogle hardly fits on there with us! I finally got one of those pillows specifically designed to fit between your legs last weekend and it's helped with my lower back pain big time...but my hips still hurt all. night. long. When I roll over or get up, it feels like something's about to pop out of place. I guess you probably don't sleep comfortably right after birth, but I'm looking forward to the day where all feels like normal again.

We bought paint for the nursery last weekend and Landon started painting the walls yesterday! We also ordered her a crib on mega Labor Day sale and have plans to move and paint an old dresser in there. I'm sure just getting started at week 30/31 is late for many, but I'm just happy it's finally starting to come along!

I'll end this update with a little cat update. Remember how one of our cats, Kirleigh, would cuddle and nap with me during my first trimester...when she's the last cat I would ever expect to do so? Well, she's at it again. Not just with me, but she's been sleeping on our pillows and wedging herself in between us at night. I think she knows she's got to get in all the attention she can before November. It's sweet but also kind of annoying because of the smallish bed situation (see above).

Here's to being one week closer to meeting Zoe!

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Sep 3, 2014

A Testimony to Letting Go

Life can be pretty funny (frustrating) sometimes, huh? I've mentioned it before and I'll probably mention it again: I never expected to be where I am now 10, 5, or even 2 years ago. Lots of things change and you are only so much in control of what happens.

At the beginning of the year, I wanted 2014 to be the year of Figuring My Life Out. I wanted it to be the year where I found my dream job, became a mom, and worked on growing closer to becoming the perfect wife. Kinda lofty goals...

Fast forward to September and I'm finally, finally starting to feel like I'm making progress. 9 months in. The first 9 months of this year were frustrating beyond belief. I thought I'd find ways to achieve these goals in self help books, in 5 minutes of prayer here and there, or by someone just telling me what to do already. I like things to happen when I want them to happen, and I want them to happen fast. That didn't happen.

I think God has been teaching me patience throughout the year. Goodness knows I've prayed for it in the past...but I never really meant it. Because you know God gives you exactly what you pray for and that can be a tough pill to swallow! But no, he's been walking with me as I've been fumbling down this frustrating path all year long. It's pretty incredible to know that he's not the slightest bit frustrated with my slow progress; I, on the other hand, have beat myself up left and right for not getting my act together sooner.

And now, my head is spinning with the answer that was there all along. I'm starting to see the light. Blessed Is She's devotion yesterday reminded me that it's okay to admit that it's hard. I thought I had done that already but nooo. I just admitted it was hard and tried to figure it out how to make it less hard on my own. I put my relationship with God in a box, and have only been seeking his help when I want to hear what he has to say or when I'm desperate.

It's hard, and I can't do it alone. 

I've felt this way before, but I've always figured it out "on my own". I don't think he's going to let that happen this time, though--not without his guidance. I feel God gently steering me in the right direction in my thoughts and actions and this time I want to do his will. I don't want to figure it out on my own anymore because quite frankly, I don't know if I can.

And when I finally admitted all that to myself last night in bed writing in my journal, I felt his huge weight begin to lift off of my chest.

This is hard. I can't do this alone. I don't want to do this alone. I trust you and I want what you want for me.

People always say there's power in letting go and "letting God". I always thought that was a load of crap. I never considered myself to be one to hold onto lots of negativity; I always thought those negative thoughts (you can always try harder! why can't you be more like this person? what do you have to show for yourself anyways?) were little pep talks that would help me grow. Hah! Yeah right. Those thoughts will help me grow as much as a bottle of whiskey will turn someone into a better alcoholic. I needed to let it all go, all that I thought was best for me because it's not. I don't know best.

I thought I could do it alone. I didn't think God had the time for my seemingly small problems, not with the way the world is today and with much bigger problems others are facing. I'm here now to tell you that no matter how proud and stubborn you might be (hello! I already won that award), you can't do it alone. Admitting that, and letting go...really letting go, the first step toward the life you were created to lead. It probably won't be the life you thought you'd be leading but I'm starting to realize that's a good thing. I may not be far down this path yet, but I believe this now more than ever and I'm confident in that statement's truth.

No matter what you believe, life will never turn out the way you plan it. When it starts to go off plan, you can either do everything in your power to get it back the way you want it, or you can ride the wave and let it all go, and give it all up to God.

I'm choosing the latter. And I'm starting to feel like a shiny new version of myself because of that--because I'm starting to see myself the way my Creator created me.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my savior.

Aug 22, 2014

Dreaming of Fall

Just call me Mrs. Grinch, but I have been loathing summer this year. It's just not the same when you're pregnant, don't have access to a pool anymore, and can't be sipping on margaritas. Unfortunately for me, summer in Texas usually lasts a few more months. That won't stop me from dreaming about fall, though!

Here's what I'm most looking forward to about my favorite season.

Cooler weather.
Guys, I am struggling this summer here in Texas. And it hasn't even been a bad one! We've only seen 100 degrees a few times! I'm blaming pregnancy for feeling overheated 24/7. I just can't even deal. I'm so sick of it that I've taken to remaining in the house from lunch until after dinner so that I don't have to get in a hot car and be tempted to turn up the A/C to full blast. I made dinner in the crockpot the other night in hopes that I wouldn't be sweating by the time we sat down to eat. Wrong!

I miss not sweating.

Yeah, BYE.

Cool weather clothes.
I'm a big fan of boots + leggings + tunics + sweaters. I love feeling cozy and comfortable; layering is my favorite. I'm looking forward to long pants now more than ever since shaving my legs is becoming a progressively more tedious task.

Not sure how these would look 30-40 weeks pregnant butttt, loving these outfits hard.
{1 // 2 (Pinterest dead end) // 3}

Fall foods.
Butternut squash everything. Oven baked goodness. Apples and pumpkins. Comfort foods. These are my jam. I almost bought a pumpkin pie this week at the grocery store but had to stop myself. Speaking of pumpkin...

Pumpkin spice lattes.
I KNOW. I know. Everyone and their 2 year old daughter and their grandmother loves the much adored and unhealthy fall drink. But there's a reason everyone loves it! I'm not loyal to any particular coffee shop and even love to make my own at home. Again, I'll probably have to restrain myself from buying one as soon as they're released because I don't want to experience the first sip of "fall" while sweating it out in the dog days of summer. And having it iced it just NOT the same.

Football season.
There's something so wonderful about the football weekends of fall. For us, it's all about the Aggies, and we always at least have the NFL games on in the background on Sundays. There's just something so relaxing to me about having football on at all times, even if it's a game I'm not particularly interested in. Our new house is pretty close to one of the local high schools, too, so I think we'll try to make it to one of their games this year. (Since I went to high school in Connecticut, I have yet to experience a Texas high school football game. For shame!)

Truth. {Source}
Getting outside.
Exercising outdoors is just about a billion times more enjoyable when it's cool outside, no? I've been trying to walk when I first wake up or right before the sun sets but, you guessed it, it's hella hot and humid out at both of those times.

The arrival of Zoe.
I had to throw that one in there. I can't believe we'll be meeting our baby girl in a few short months!

Linking up over at Conversion Diary for this week's 7 Quick Takes! Be sure to go check out everyone else's :)

What are you looking forward to most about fall? Or are you praying for a long summer (bite your tongue!)?

Nursery Inspiration

A few months ago, I was asked what the theme for our nursery would be.

I honestly hadn't even thought much about a color scheme at the time, let alone a theme. I didn't know nurseries typically even had themes! I hadn't started pinning nurseries I liked on Pinterest, since I had wanted to wait until we knew if we were having a boy or girl. When we found out Zoe was a girl, I had an easier time determining what I didn't want. I'm not big on anything super girly or overdone, so not a lot of pink, no frills, no princesses or ballerinas, no zoo animals and no sea creatures.

I eventually decided I really liked the combination of pale lavender + white + gold. If other colors appear in the decor, well that's okay too. I just really like the idea of a cool toned, minimalist room with gold accents. Metallic things (glitter!) are probably the girliest things I gravitate towards and that sounded fun to add touches of.

When I finally started my perusal of girl nurseries on Pinterest, there was no lack of inspiration. Below are my favorites.

 {Left // Right}

I can't get over that floral dresser and the nesting doll prints. On the right, kind of loving those star decals, or any large decal for that matter to create an accent wall.

  {Left // Right}

I know they're starting to go out of style, but I'm still loving animal head mounts. Also gallery walls. Are those going out of style too? I hope not. 

I died when I saw that sheep rocker. It was on Land of Nod (I wish I never stepped foot on that website) but I can't find it anywhere online now. I also think the little hanging branch of special clothes is adorable.

As I started to look more at nursery decor, I realized I was unintentionally gravitating toward a theme after all: whimsical + woodland creatures. 

Ignore the polar bear rocking horse. We can just pretend he's a white forest bear. And yes those are zoo animals in the middle but I love the portrait style of the prints!

{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}

I can't wait to go pick out some paint this weekend and to get started on finally putting this vision together. As far as furniture goes, I'm a big fan of the Jenny Lind cribs or the Gulliver crib from good old Ikea. We're repurposing a 5 drawer dresser from our room, but it's a little too high to be a changing table so we'll need to see what's out there for that. We haven't thought much about gliders vs. rocking chairs yet, either.

Nesting mode is officially in full swing, friends!

Aug 20, 2014

Bump Day: Starting the 3rd Trimester [28 Weeks]

Yikes, it's been 10 weeks since I published my last Bump Day post. I've talked about the pregnancy here and there in other posts, but I'd say it's about time to dedicate big ol' update to 28 weeks!

First things first: we have a name.

We've actually had one since mid-June, right after we found out the gender (it's a girl, by the way, if you missed that in the past!). I love the idea of waiting until the actual birth day to find out if you're having a boy or a girl and naming him or her right then and there...but we couldn't wait. At least not this time.

So without further ado, we will be naming her...Zoe Marie!

Choosing a first name was a lot easier than I thought it'd be. We had it narrowed down to a few but immediately agreed on "Zoe." It's always been a favorite of mine; we found out after deciding on it that it means "life" and is actually a Jewish translation of Eve. Pretty cool! Middle names, we learned, were super hard to decide on. I had loved the idea of a saint's name, but neither of us have a particular connection to one or another. We ended up choosing "Marie" because it's the same as mine and because of Mary.

This was not a deciding factor, but I think it's pretty cool she'll get to share her name with a Sesame Street character. Sesame Street was my favorite growing up so you best believe it will be on most mornings in our house.

In pregnancy news, I just cannot believe I'm in the last trimester. The first trimester moved so slowly, but the second one was here and gone before I knew it. Part of me wishes I could stop time to prepare more for the little one. I feel so unprepared! I just cleared out the room that will be her nursery last week. We haven't even gone to look at paint colors or furniture yet. Some people have the nursery completely ready by this point! And don't even get me started on our registry (we don't have one).

Last week I took my glucose test, failed it, and had to take the 3 hour one a few days later which was hands down the worst part of this pregnancy so far. I chugged the flat orange soda like a champ (thanks college!) but proceeded to feel light-headed and sick to my stomach for the remaining 3 hours. I couldn't concentrate on anything and when I was done, I wasn't even hungry or thirsty...I just wanted to get straight into bed and let my awful sugar coma continue its process. Thankfully I passed that one, and you know I had some celebratory ice cream when I found out.

Also, I'm starting to feel very large. At my doctor's visit last week, I realized I only had about 5 more pounds to gain before I hit my recommended weight gain. In 3 months. Considering I'm pretty sure I gained more than 5 pounds in the past month, this scared me a little and made me mad at myself for not eating a better diet and walking more since March.

Of course I won't be doing anything dramatic during this last trimester, but I have started to roughly count my calories and make exercising more of a priority. I know weight gain is so different for everyone, but I don't want to get in a danger zone where it would make anything more complicated.

The good news is that Zoe is measuring right on cue and is moving around like crazy! She was a little quieter than normal this past weekend. I did a kick count but what I felt seemed too subtle. Now I understand why moms freak out when their baby stops moving in their normal patterns. She's definitely back in action now; this morning as mass, I felt like my belly was shaking all over the place!

Here is a bump shot from Sunday:
Other random tidbits...

- I've been craving cherry limeades like crazy
- I started reading Bringing up Bebe. Some of the things French women do make a lot of sense and I'm already finding myself tell Landon we have to do those things (yeah, we'll see!)
- My back is still hurting, but not nearly as bad as it was for the past month or so
- The summer heat has been draining me, even if I make sure to stay inside during the hottest times of the day. I've been napping a lot.
- I really can't begin to remember how it feels to sleep through the night. I think that's all I want for my birthday in May.

Tell me: how are all of the other pregnant mamas out there feeling? Make sure y'all are treatin' yoselves well!

Choosing to Be the Light

I didn't think I was going to write about everything going on in the world today, but I don't see how I can write any other sort of blog post without sharing my thoughts.

I don't feel like I'm knowledgeable enough to speak on what's going on right now in the Middle East or even just a few states away in Missouri. It's all very confusing and heartbreaking. I feel like we're not doing enough in any of these places, but then again I don't have any better suggestions. I feel as though I have nothing to offer those who are going through more pain and suffering than I've ever known.

I'm having a hard time simply remembering to pray for the end of these horrific situations. It's way too easy to lose hope and trust. It's also way too easy to tune it all out and to just go about your life as if nothing bad is happening outside of your bubble.

Haley's post yesterday really spoke to me about hope and perseverance. She quoted St. John Paul the Great who said "Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song." As Christians, we are called to live our lives a certain way. This includes seeking out the light of Christ and sharing it with others in whatever way we can.

Just because things happen that are complicated and confusing doesn't mean we just give up hope. We are called to be the light of the world, especially during these dark times. It is a conscious choice we must make.

I'm thankful for those who are able to share words of peace and solace with everyone who is as just heartbroken as I am. I greatly admire those who are defending their faith and what they believe. I'd like to say I would do the same, but that's a lot easier said than done when faced with such hardship.

But most importantly, I'm thankful for a God who challenges me and everyone else to pray harder than we ever thought possible and to live out what we believe--to be the light in the darkness.

It's not easy. I have such a difficult time articulating my firm belief and trust in what's to come. But perhaps if we can just take each day as it comes and remember to be that beautiful light to all, it will help to show others the hope of what's promised to every single one of us.

Please remember to keep all of those who are suffering in your prayers, and to pray without ceasing.