Jul 25, 2014

Pre-Edel 7QT

GUYS, the day has come! Edel is TODAY!!! For this week's 7 Quick Takes, I wanted to (re)introduce myself for any of y'all reading through the link up over on Carolyn's blog today :) If you aren't going to Edel, this really bums me out because I would have loved to meet you. Are you sure you can't book a last minute plane ticket to come? If not, know that you've got myself and many women praying for you and your families this weekend. I wish you were coming!

1. Hi! I'm Kayla and I live in College Station, TX with my wonderful husband of 10 months and our two crazy fluffballs that are kittens.

2. I'm 25 weeks pregnant as of today! We're having a little girl this November. We do have a name picked out and if you ask me this weekend what it is I'll most definitely share because I'm getting to the point where I can't keep it a secret any longer!

3. I graduated from Texas A&M in 2013 (but was class of 2012...oops!) with a degree in horticulture. We decided to set up shop (our lives) here for a little while. Ask me how excited I am for football season to begin. SO STINKIN EXCITED.

4. I was born and raised Catholic, but didn't really get into it all until later on in college, so I still often feel like a new Catholic most of the time. I love me some Adoration, Catholic Answers, and getting to be a part of the perfect Catholic community that is St. Mary's.

5. I really liked Bonnie's post where she shared her personality type for Edel attendees she may meet. I don't know a lot about the other types off the top of my head but if you do, I'm an ISFP...but I'm right on the line between introverted and extroverted and I can be the latter. If Enneagrams are your thing, I think I'm a 4 but I've never taken a formal test or anything fancy. So there's that!

6. I love pretty much anything that has to do with food and drinks. I love cooking, baking, mixing cocktails, making lattes, eating and drinking said things, trying new restaurants, eating at food trucks, etc. I feel like food is my biggest hobby. Is that sad? I hope not.
[She's a big fan of margaritas, too]

7. I am truly so excited to meet so many incredible women this weekend. I can't wait to see your cute babies and get ALL the advice you have to offer. I can't wait to hear about your travel journeys and where you're from and what you like to do! Really, I love listening, so please feel free to talk my ear off if you meet me.

Have a great weekend friends!

Jul 21, 2014

(Early) Thoughts on Motherhood

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday mom! She's off galavanting around Montreal with my dad, probably eating their fair share of French food and looking at beautiful churches.

I'm not jealous or anything.

I realized this morning that this is the first birthday in long time...possibly ever...that I haven't spent with her. If you read this post on love, you'll know I have a pretty special relationship with my parents that I thank God for daily. My mom is my best friend. I remember being embarrassed for friends who felt that way when I was younger. Really, your mom is your best friend? Lame. But now I get it. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

{D.C. circa 2008}

It breaks my heart to know that she stood aside (but was probably praying fervently) all those years I distanced myself from her. I think about this little girl growing inside of me right now and wonder if there's anything I can do to prevent that from happening to me. In my mind, my mom did everything right. She was there for me every hour of every day; she truly cared about my life and put talking to me and being with me above all else. She let me know she was there for me during difficult times but never pushed me to talk. She prayed for me. It's a tough pill to swallow knowing that even if you do all those things, they don't guarantee a good or even pleasant relationship with your children.

Like I mentioned on Friday, Landon and I are watching Friday Night Lights and we're a little ways into season 2. During the first few episodes, the perfect mother/daughter relationship of Julie and Tami Taylor was no more. It was so painful to watch as Julie yelled hurtful things to her mom. I think it hurt more because I was there at one point and I hate thinking about how much I hurt my own mother.
{My mom is literally the biggest fan of those Christmas crackers that come with the paper crowns; Christmas 2012}

I'm no expert on motherhood or parenting...clearly. Our baby hasn't even been born yet, but I'm already wondering how I'll handle all of those situations that really define what kind of parent you are. I used to think my parents were the most overprotective ones in my circle of friends; now, I can see myself being even more protective than they were. I know I want to be a "good mom", whatever that means, in the long run. As much as I know it'll hurt, I think I'll take the yelling and harsh words from my daughter any day if it means having the type of relationship in the end that I have with my mom now.

Happy birthday, mom! Thank you for being the type of mom that you are -- a sincerely incredible one. I love you.

Jul 19, 2014

A Big Birthday, #Normcore, and EDEL! (7QT)

SaturHEY! Looking forward to what will hopefully be a lazy and relaxing weekend. We've got big plans to possibly catch a movie and make some slow cooker tortilla soup ;) What will you be up to?

Linking up over at Conversion Diary for some 7 Quick Takes!

1. It was my Poppi's 90th birthday yesterday! He doesn't know about this little blog or anything, but I'm just so excited and happy for him that I have to share with everyone. My whole family is in upstate New York celebrating with him and my Nanni and I couldn't be more jealous. They've been married and living in the same house for something crazy like 60+ years. I hope I'm that much of a rock star later on in life!
{They have the most magnets I've ever seen. Forever obsessed with their fridge.}

2. I wrote 2 blog posts this week and published 0 of them. Honestly I think my problem is that I just don't even know what photos to add to posts half the time and pictures are important. Going to be changing that and publishing them soon!

3. I did a bit of shopping this week and finally got my hands on some normcore/Birkenstock-esque sandals. I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea but I love them and practically they're going to work for the next few months of pregnancy. I had to stop myself from getting these babies at Target yesterday (they were less than $10!) but I love the treading so much and might have to go back.

4. Speaking of shopping, I also picked up the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade. Holy bananas, if you're a fan of brow products this stuff is incredible. They came out with some new shades recently and medium brown matches my brows perfectly.
{Can it just be fall already so I can wear heavy eye makeup without looking cray?}

5. L and I finished season 1 of Friday Night Lights and are of course starting on season 2. We heard it's the worst out of all of them. Have you seen it? What are your thoughts? Texas forever, y'all.

6. I'm so thankful for blogging moms who have written about their pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum experiences. Everyone's experience is so unique, yes, but I feel like it's so helpful and generous of you all to share these things with the whole internet.

7. It's one week until Edel! I'm so excited but also a little nervous. I know all that nervousness is silly though because everyone going seems so sweet online and I'm sure they're even more so in real life. I'm also just so excited to be in downtown Austin! Our honeymoon was a sort of staycation there because we love it so much. I'm hoping Landon and I can go here on Sunday. Best. Mexican. EVER.

Jul 12, 2014

7QT: Pictureless

Happy weekend, friends! It sort of hit me this week that I quit my last job 7 months ago. I've had a job (minus my freshmen year of college abroad) since I was 15 or 16 so that number just sounds crazy. What's even crazier is that the weeks seem to fly by-- I thought it would be a challenge to fill my time with different things but that has not been the case.

I've got a lot to say this week for my 7 Quick Takes! Linking up with lots of lovelies over at Conversion Diary :)

1. I found Kara's blog through Haley's blog last week after catching up on my Bloglovin' and I was completely in awe over her Daily Mini Goals post. I've never been one for much structure in my daily life so I figured it might be a fun little experiment to adjust the schedule she shared to fit my own day and give it a try. It's been a lot harder than I thought to get into a routine and actually accomplishing everything, so I've been following it loosely (usually sticking to the morning parts but not so much the afternoon parts)...but I kind of love it. The crazy thing is that Kara has even MORE things scheduled daily that have to do with her kids. How does she do it?! I don't know, but it's an inspiration.

2. I kind of had a mid-pregnancy freak out last night. Why haven't I read a book (or 5) on breastfeeding? Why haven't I started researching car seats and strollers? Why haven't I chosen a theme for her nursery? Why am I still eating like I was during the first few months (carbs and junk and whatever the heck I craved) instead of healthier foods my stomach can handle now?  I'm sure these thoughts are normal, and now I'm just trying to constructively figure out how to make the next 17ish weeks successful. I feel like I'm not usually so hard on myself, however I think that's just because this time I'm in charge (or can be in charge of) so much...including a fully dependent human. 

3. I think I'm in a major cooking rut. I've always loved cooking and trying out new recipes, but lately I just want easy and out of a box. Yikes. Even though it's summer, perhaps some good slow cooker recipes would be a start? Do you have any simple go-to recipes, slow cooker or otherwise?

4. This week was full of lots of girl time and catching up with friends. I thought it would be hard to make the transition from college life to adult life in the same town we went to college in. It might have been a little at first but that's no longer the case. I'm starting to feel like I have a place in this community as a young adult.

5. Our house is still far from fully unpacked/decorated. It makes me wonder that if I didn't know any better (what was in those boxes) if I'd even miss it all? It's so hard to let go of things because of all those "what if" scenarios, but the fact is this house is smaller and I would rather not be living amidst clutter. And this is pre-baby clutter; I'm sure it'll just get worse when there's baby clothes, diapers, toys, and gadgets everywhere!

6. I broke out the old sewing machine earlier this week for the first time in years. I sewed a lot in high school and missed it as soon as I started going through old fabric and patterns a few months ago at my parents' house. I went to go sew a zipper pouch for my first little project and couldn't find the plain old presser (zig zag? I don't know all this lingo anymore) foot that came with my machine. I was all ready to go buy a new one at a sewing store in town but when I called, I learned it wasn't an actual store but a phone line for a mail order company. Grr! Anyways, I found a better deal on good old Amazon instead and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I have lofty goals of making lots of clothes and accessories for the baby as well as some Christmas gifts for family in advanced. We'll see ;)

7. This song by the Griswolds has been stuck in my head all. week. LONG. It's one of those weird songs that has an awesome beat but is actually kind of a downer?....I don't know. I'm sure that doesn't make it sound all that great. You'll just have to give it a listen! But don't listen to it with the kids around (there's some swearing).

Hope y'all are enjoying some quality summer weekend time!

Jul 7, 2014

On Love

Hi friends! I hope you had a wonderfully relaxing Fourth of July weekend. We did a whole lot of nothing and it was great. Days seems so much longer with minimal planning. On Friday, we cooked a meal that would make America proud, visited the birthplace of Texas, and watched the fireworks at the George Bush Library. Saturday and Sunday involved a lot of Friday Night Lights-watching, eating, napping, and of course church-going.

Maybe I needed this weekend to recharge, because I woke up today with a clear mind full of important thoughts. Pregnancy hormones also probably most likely are playing a role in these thoughts.

(Isn't it great to be able to blame things on hormones? I'm taking full advantage of that for sure.)

Love has been on my mind a lot lately.

I grew up as an only child with incredibly loving parents. They showered me with so much love; of course, I didn't grasp that until much later on in life. I thought every other family was just like ours. Eating meals together, exploring new places together, even just talking to each other was normal for us. I didn't realize there were families were parents worked extra long hours and didn't get to see their kids' dance recitals or sports games. I didn't realize parents existed who were so caught up in themselves that they hardly noticed anything about their own child. I took it all for granted for years.

{Throwback...Monday?}

A few months into college in 2008, it hit me. I did some stupid stuff that could've ended my college career and my stay in Italy right then and there. I disappointed my mom and dad more than I ever thought possible. I cried for days. It was one of the darkest times in my life, but even with all the hurt I put on them, my parents were the light. They didn't abandon me. They emailed me and took my calls even when I knew it was costing a pretty penny per minute. They walked through the pain and struggles with me and for the first time in my life, I really felt their endless, unwavering love.

I remember sobbing and typing and email to them unable to understand how they could have done so much for me so selflessly for the past 18 years of my life. (They had been patiently waiting on this moment, I'm sure.) I felt like it was then that I woke up to what love truly meant. It was this love that actually helped me start my faith journey back towards Jesus. Their love, I would learn, is just a small sliver of what His love is. Talk about incredible.

Lots of people wonder how they know love between themselves and another person is real and made to last. When I met Landon and as things got serious, the love he showed me reflected the love my parents had always showed me so perfectly. That's how I knew it was real. He has always been so selfless and giving in our relationship...and isn't that exactly what love is about? Selflessness?

I think it is.

It's what I feel every time I'm in adoration or at mass: the perfect, selfless, self-giving love that Jesus gives all of us every single second of every single day. He's loved me since I was created and hasn't stopped a moment since. He's loved me when I've strayed away from my faith and what was right. He's loved me as I've struggled...very slowly...with learning how to be more selfless myself. He loves us expecting absolutely nothing in return. That is some real stuff right there.
{Link}

I think in today's world, we're taught to be selfish, and I think that's where I messed up and where I'm trying to come back from. We're taught to do whatever it takes for our careers, for our bodies, to move there, to get that new apartment or house. We're told that we should always put ourselves first. But our reason for being here isn't for ourselves. It's to live in community with others and to share love, real self-giving love, with every single person. There's no room for selfishness in real love.

Now, I'm all for taking time for yourself to workout or go shopping or take some extra time getting ready in the morning. Taking care of yourself to a certain extent and loving yourself is important. However, it's putting those things above the people you're supposed to be loving that makes things dangerous.

My life has played out a whole lot differently than I imagined. I could have turned a blind eye to what I knew I had with Landon from an early point, graduated, packed my bags and moved to a big city or traveled overseas solo. Being shown such a real love at that point in my life was hard because it was a whole heck of a lot different than what others were being given. Saying yes to love and the uncertainty of a future that involved another person instead of just myself was a tough pill to swallow. It was then that I started to realize my life would no longer just be about me. It wasn't a decision I took lightly; it involved a lot of prayer, but in the end it was never a decision. I knew in my heart and soul that this was for me. I know Landon could say the same thing...he could've been living the bachelor life working wherever he pleased (and saving a lot more money. Us women are expensive creatures.).
Come November, I'm going to be not only a wife but a mother. Nothing else will hold a candle to the importance of these two jobs. Every day, I'm trying to learn how to love better. Being selfless isn't easy and we're all our own biggest critics. It's easy to focus on what we could have done better instead of what we actually did. I want to give the world to Landon, my parents, my family, and my friends. I want to make sure our baby grows up only knowing selfless love. I want everyone to go to sleep at night without a doubt in their mind that I love the heck out of them, so much so that it hurts.

Remember to love and be loved. Love is a completely mushy topic, I know, but I think it's the most important thing in this world. Call your mom. Say hi to someone you pass by at the store. Send an old friend a text. Thank God for the love you've experienced in your own life and tell him you're ready for more, for all that he has to give.

I get weekly pep talks/newsletters from Hannah Brencher, creator of More Love Letters (you need to check it out/sign up for her newsletter, by the way; it's incredible) and I wanted to share a paragraph from today that couldn't be more perfect:

"On the topic of love, it's a severely underestimated word. That word should have you crawling on your knees in a struggle to just get better at it. You should surround yourself with people who challenge you on that word. What better honor in this lifetime than to be surrounded by people who make you constantly think, 'My god, I want to learn how to love you well.'"

Good stuff, huh?

Here's to love, my friends.

Jul 1, 2014

Ch-ch-changes

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I'd be wearing a maxi skirt/dress or two during the course of the months I was showing with summertime being the most prominent season. I figured I'd pair it with a form-fitting top, some cute flats, and BAM, instant cute pregnant style. That's what I saw on Pinterest and the blogs anyways. So you can imagine my disappoint when, before heading to church on Sunday, I had Landon shoot a "What I Wore"/bump picture. I reviewed the options as he was driving us to mass and immediately felt let down.

All of a sudden I looked very pregnant.

It didn't help that we had a huge Italian meal just a few hours earlier. So this bump was both my real baby and a food baby combined. But like I said, as I was looking at my chest, belly, and butt I started to feel let down. I immediately regretted not being in better shape prior to pregnancy and not working out more throughout. I also regretted my yolo attitude towards all the junk food I had been consuming. Finally, I felt jealousy towards pregnant women who were able to afford cute new flattering clothes throughout every stage of their pregnancy. Surely if I had been able to place an order on ASOS or H&M for some trendier maternity pieces I'd be happier with how I looked, right?


I hope you can see where I'm going with this post...

After lots of reflecting, I know none of those feelings of regret or jealousy are even remotely appropriate. Yes, health is important for both myself and the baby and I should be trying just a little harder. But ultimately how my body has changed and will continue to change until the end of 2014 is out of my control because there is life growing inside of me. Letting the process continue the way it's meant to is really the only option. I would never want to risk harm on our unborn baby by drastically changing my eating and fitness routine at this point. I also know that although yes, new clothes are quite lovely, they don't make me who I really am. 

This year has included a whole lot of soul searching. I'm evolving...right there with my body type. I know that certain things that used to be the most important for me are some of the least nowadays. My goals can be boiled down to a few things: 1. Be the best wife and mother I can be and 2. Be open to whatever God throws my way. Trusting the process of my life and my pregnancy are challenging but it's all that I've got and I'm becoming more okay with that every single day. There's a reason I'm growing in places I instinctively want to not be growing in and they all have to do with this wonderful child we've been blessed with.

So here's to embracing the wonderfully wild ride of pregnancy. It's not always roses, but it sure can be with prayer, a great support system, and some extra positive thinking. 

As for clothing/personal style during this time, I'm especially loving this outlook from designer Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava...

"It's like a nine-month experiment in redefining your personal style. It's actually been really fun to figure it out."

I plan on adjusting my attitude to this from now on...to see the adventure in pregnancy.

Jun 28, 2014

Unpacking with spiders and more! (7QT)

This week's 7QT is quite the mixed bag. I feel like my brain's being pulled in a million directions as of late and what better way to deal with that than a little brain dump?

1] It was a sad day earlier this week when I realized my iPhone camera is better than my point and shoot Nikon. I was trying to photograph a makeup look with some schmancy close-ups and my regular camera would just NOT FOCUS! Anyways, Landon brought out his old school Sony Cybershot circa 2007 which I'm pretty sure will be better quality than my Nikon that's only a few years old. Probably time to start saving for a DSLR?
{Back when I thought cuteness of camera mattered more than quality. Sad times.}

2] This week's goal was to have the house unpacked by the end of the week. Welp, some progress has been made, but our garage probably has another 20+ boxes that need to be dealt with. We lost a good amount of closet and cabinet space when we moved to this house and I just don't know where everything's going to go! In other packing related news, our kitchen table was in the garage for the past week and while Landon was putting it back together last night he found spider egg sacs where the legs screw on. This fact has now led me to believe that there are a billion spiders and spider egg sacs ALL over our garage and in the boxes out there now, so I foresee this whole unpacking thing taking even longer. Grossssssgrossgross.
{So many hiding spots for spiders. Yuck.}

3] I meet monthly with a spiritual director at my church. She is the absolute sweetest woman and I always leave our meetings feeling incredibly inspired and uplifted. The past few months have been sort of a spiritual dry spell for me, and I've felt so bad when I meet with her and have nothing new to say. I'll go to mass, I'll pray when prayers are requested... but that's about it. I feel like I've been standing still instead of growing closer to God. In an effort to be more consistent, I've started a little bit of a new plan that involves going to adoration and daily mass more. It's only been 2 days but y'all, I've woken up for 7 am mass both times! I've always convinced myself that it was to early too be somewhere with teeth brushed and dressed in appropriate attire, but oh how wrong I was. I can't say I plan on going every single weekday, but even adding in one daily a week is better than before. Thankful that we live close to churches that offer so many daily masses.

{Currently reading and loving; talk about an eye opener for this cradle Catholic}

4] My sweet tooth has been out of control. There is a ton of fruit in the house in an effort for me to eat sugar in a more natural fashion, but cookies and ice cream have just been calling my name. I got the ingredients to make marshmallow blondies soon and I just cannot wait.

5] When we moved here a few weeks ago, there were 2 very dead trees in the front yard along with a small, overgrown "flower" bed with just some ugly, overgrown foundation plants. The backyard is fairly roomy but just had grass and a large pile of sand/charcoal (turns out the previous owner had a skate ramp back there. cool.). We kind of moved in at the worst time for planting things, and I'll probably be a little too big to do any crazy landscaping come fall and this frustrates me. I want a garden and fruit trees, darn it! Instead we just pulled up the dead trees, shoveled up the dirt pile, and laid down some sod over both. And by we I mean Landon. Fingers crossed the grass at least grows a little bit in the mean time!

6] The whole should I/shouldn't I caffeine debate in my head rages on. As a reminder, I was quite the coffee lover pre-pregnancy. I gave it up for (most of) the first trimester and then started to drink it again. I'm sure this is completely psychological, but decaf doesn't taste good to me. After I drank some regular coffee earlier this week, my stomach started to hurt which I took as a sign that maybe I should lay off it again. We'll see. My mom swears she drank coffee throughout her pregnancy with me, but my dad seems to remember otherwise. What are your thoughts on caffeine intake during pregnancy?

{Tried my hand at some homemade almond coffee creamer [similar] this past week. It's okaaaaay, but I think I'll stick with plain ol' almond milk for the sake of easiness.}

7] Finally, let's talk about the World Cup. I really, honestly wish I could get into it. I actually enjoy watching soccer/football in person and I feel like I'm missing out by not following along with everything. Maybe we'll make it out to a bar for a game soon. Go USA!

Linking up for another round of quick takes with Jen and friends over at Conversion Diary. Be sure to check out the link-up!