Family, pregnancy

Pregnancy/ Life Update

Gah, this summer just flew by! The kids in my town are back to school, and the leaves have been falling in our backyard. We’ve been in the midst of a very busy season in our home, and I’m soaking it all up! But how in the world is it already mid-August? And is it too soon to start decorating for fall? (Asking for a friend…)

I’ll be SIX MONTHS pregnant with our little girl starting Friday! I can’t believe that. Maybe it’s because we waited so long to share our big news with the rest of the world, but it feels like I just found out! My belly is getting bigger by the day, and her little fluttery kicks have turned into big thumps, usually on my bladder. I’m loving every one of them!

Exciting news: we think we have decided on her name! Keeping it a secret until her arrival, though.

Here is a list of pregnancy questions/ prompts I found that I thought would be fun to share! I’ll try to do these every week or two! If you can think of any funny or interesting prompts, I’d love to add them to my list!

How far along? 21 weeks

How big is the baby? About the size of a carrot… 10.5 inches long and weighing almost a pound!

Maternity clothes? When I go somewhere and need to look decent. Otherwise, it’s Brandon’s shirts and my running shorts, which are even starting to be a little snug!

Sleep? Sleeping great, other than Ben’s recent switch from two naps/day to just one, and therefore a current little sleep regression to go with it. HELP!

Best moment this week? Seeing family at my cousin Chelsea’s beautiful wedding in Cleveland last weekend. My cousin Sarah and Aunt Paula also sent gifts for the baby, since I’m not having a shower. It was so thoughtful and sweet, and now our girl will be dressed to impress at all times! They sent some of the CUTEST clothes, blankets, and decor for her room! Also, Ben has been talking more and his sweet little voice saying some of the things his little mind comes up with is amazing and so rewarding! Lots of great moments this week (:

Cravings? Peanut butter cookies. Can’t get enough. Pretty sure this belly is half baby, half Tagalongs. #noregrets

Aversions? Does cooking count? I usually love cooking dinner, but can we all just have peanut butter cookies or cereal instead this week? No? Okay…

Labor signs? None, thankfully! Little Miss still has lots of growing left to do!

Belly button in or out? It’s currently flat, but threatening to pop at any time. It’s noticeable under my shirts!

What I miss? Sleeping on my belly. I am glad I was able to up until a week or two ago, but I’ve always slept best that way.

Downfalls? My SPD (symphysis pubis discomfort) pain is in FULL SWING. It came on like an earthquake Sunday, and not gradually like I was hoping for. It’s been killing me, especially when I’m carrying Ben. And rolling over in bed. And pretty much any time I sit/walk/move/stand/lay/do anything, anytime, ever. (I think I’ll make a post explaining SPD soon, because so many people don’t quite understand it, and unfortunately I’m a seasoned veteran when it comes to having it.)

Currently listening to: The new Jason Mraz album. It’s so dreamy! Ben and I have dance parties to it in the kitchen!

Noticing anything different? My nose has been super sensitive this whole pregnancy, but it seems way worse this week, particularly to everything that smells bad. I’m declaring it time for the fall candles!

What I’m looking forward to? FALL EVERYTHING! Most of my maternity clothes are fall/winter, and I can’t wait until it gets a little bit chillier so I can wear them.

Milestones? Brandon lifted my shirt yesterday and laughed. He said, “your belly is so big!” (He’s the only one that is allowed to say that without upsetting me. Then he talked to our girl and made belly button intercom button jokes. It was just so cute. Goodness, I love that man. Happy 5 year wedding anniversary, B!)

Bump? Oh yes, no hiding it now!


Family, Uncategorized

Tips for Surviving Your SECOND First Trimester (Newly Pregnant with a Toddler in Tow)

Hi friends, and happy Monday!

I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the summer sun!

In case you didn’t know, you probably do after reading the title… Brandon and I are expecting baby # 2! We are over-the-moon excited about this news, but I had to wait to post this because we have been keeping it a secret from our families for THREE months!

Now that the news is out, and I’m officially pushing through my second trimester, I thought I’d share how I survived the first one. Because let me tell you, it was HARD. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve never been more exhausted in all of my life. I’m thankful Ben is still taking 2 naps a day, because some days, I had to too (definitely at least one, or I wouldn’t have made it through most days).

Unlike in my first pregnancy, where I was working back-to-back 12 hour night shifts AND picking up overtime day shifts, working on our kitchen renovations, and going to CrossFit 5-6 days a week during the first trimester, this pregnancy has been full of going to bed early, being nauseous all day with no appetite, and resting as much as Ben will let me.  It’s funny how life has changed in two short years.  I was so active, determined to have a fit pregnancy last time.  That still sounds great, but this time around, the thought of going for a run makes me need a nap so desperately.  Thankfully, much of my energy has come back with the start of my second trimester, and I’m hoping to work out again soon.  But for now, I’m listening to my body.  The demands of taking care of the house and my very spirited toddler are how I’m staying active.  Here are my most helpful tips on surviving that difficult first few months when you need to be a mama first.


Tip #1: Small snacks and bubbly water.

I don’t know why people refer to it as “morning” sickness, when it really lasts all day long.  When you’re feeling yucky and your appetite is nonexistent, it’s best to keep something small in your stomach at all times.  That really helped me to keep nausea at bay, since I found I felt my worst when my stomach was totally empty.  Instead of eating 3 large meals, try eating 5-6 smaller ones, and always keeping snacks around.  I also drank lots of LaCroix, which is carbonated water with natural flavors.  It helped to keep me hydrated when even water didn’t sound very good.

Tip #2: Ask for help.

Brandon was so helpful and understanding of how terrible I felt.  As soon as he got home from work, he’d step right into Dad duty so I could rest, cook dinner, or some days, take a nap.  It’s okay to ask for extra help.  Your body is going through so much, and a little break could keep you from totally breaking.

Tip #3: Celebrate ALL Victories.

Every ultrasound, every new week, every load of laundry folded deserves a reward.  Take it easy on yourself, and celebrate even the smallest of victories.  Reward yourself with a little treat, a face mask, a solo trip to Target, or even an early bedtime.  Growing a human deserves some recognition, Mama!  That’s multi-tasking at its finest!

Tip #4: Diet is KEY.

Cravings are REAL.  Aversions are REAL.  But try to remember that whatever you eat, your growing little baby is eating, too.  Since working out hasn’t been in the cards for me much (yet) this pregnancy, I’m working on focusing on what I can control, which is what I eat and how much I’m eating.

  • You aren’t actually eating for two whole people, so most doctors recommend only upping your calories by 150 during the first trimester.  That could be used on 2 Oreo Cookies, or you could enjoy something filling and nutritious instead, like some rice and veggies that will help you power through your day.  (And really, who can stop at just 2 Oreos?!  NOT ME.)  Also, don’t drink you calories!
  • Protein is also really important, so I’ve been fitting it in throughout my day wherever I can.  I’ve been choosing eggs over a bowl of sugary cereal, chicken with my salads, or a protein bar snack.  Comparing my diet thus far with my first pregnancy, I really believe this is the main contributor to the reason I’ve been able to successfully keep my growing belly relatively small and hide-able for months (and fit into a bridesmaid dress at 16 weeks that I ordered prior to getting pregnant!).  I’m still gaining a very healthy amount of weight, but I’m just making smarter choices.
  • I’m also not giving into every single craving I’ve had– I’ve found that usually a few bites is all I need to satisfy it.
  • If there’s ever been a time to go organic, this is it.  Brandon and I had already switched must of our produce and daily staples to organic ones, but I’ve been trying to really step it up.  After learning about the pesticides in literally EVERYTHING we eat and realizing that they all add up, and thinking about the little person growing so quickly and depending on you for nutrients,  I’ve realized I want to give them the best start I can.

Tip #5: Plan Ahead.

Prepping meals ahead of time– even pre-making PB&Js to throw in the freezer, pealing/cutting fruits, or portioning out snacks– will save you tremendous amounts of time, as well as help you to make healthier choices for you and your family.  Each week, I made sure to keep up with my menu planning and grocery lists and do what I could on Sundays to prepare for the week while Brandon was home to help me.  I also looked ahead at any local activities going on for kids and families, which helped to keep Ben busy and engaged with other kids without as much planning on my (already fatigued) end.  Some of our favorite days were spent trying out new playgrounds and activities put on by our library!

Tip #6:  Go outside!

I’ve been really fortunate to be pregnant during beautiful weather.  Getting some fresh air and sunshine totally changes my mood.  It’s also great for Ben, who would be outside from morning to bedtime, if I let him!  Playing in the rocks or with bubbles keeps him entertained for hours, and wears his little body out for naps and bedtime, which I consider a mom win!  Just some chalk, toy trucks, and a bubble mower will provide endless fun without any stress or mess for me, and watching him play and learn is the best part of ANY day.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful!  Do you have any tips for mamas trying to survive pregnancy with a toddler?  (Any third trimester tips?  It’s creeping up on me REAL QUICK!)  I’d love to hear them!

(I surprised Brandon– and apparently Ben ^^– with a mini photo session to tell him our news, and it was a success! I’ll post more about that soon!)

Family, Traveling, Uncategorized

Ben’s First Camping Trip

Hello, everyone!

We are well into the week now, and man, this one really seems to be flying by for me.  Anyone else?  Brandon, Ben, Jack, & I went on Ben’s first camping trip to a lake about 45 minutes from our house over the weekend.  We had heard amazing things about this place, but for some reason, had never been.  My goodness, it was so beautiful!  We are already excited to go back!  We met my parents there, who were camping for the whole weekend.  They let us set our little tent up on their campsite, and we were so anxious to make s’mores and something called “Woofem Pies” on the fire.

The day was scorching hot, so the lake felt amazing.  We took their new kayaks out for a try (which only made us want to get kayaks even more than we already do!), and were  having the best time.  Jack even went in for an impromptu swim at the lake while I was letting him get a drink.  I should’ve known better than to trust a lab around water to just “get a drink”… I ended up bouncing all over some huge rocks as he dragged me around so he could cool off and splash around!  We went back to the campsite for lunch and to swim in the pool.  Ben LOVES the water, and it makes me so proud that he is so comfortable around it like I’ve always been.  He was one tired little fish!  It was so sunny and beautiful.  The forecast was showing this perfect weather all weekend… no rain in sight…

and then it rained.

I mean, RAINED.  Out of no where, it began DOWNPOURING and hailing.  The wind picked up and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it rain so hard in my life!  It didn’t take long until we were all completely drenched.  Actually, that’s an understatement.  I don’t think I could’ve gotten more wet if I was submerged in water.  And since the storm was so sudden and unexpected, our tent window was wide open, and it was like we were inviting the water in.  Our air mattress almost became a raft that floated away, had our tent not been steaked into the ground.  But just as quickly as it came on, the rain stopped, the hail melted, and the sun was out again.  We couldn’t do anything but laugh as we tried to wring everything we owned out to dry in the sun.

Well, it ended doing that again about an hour later, with another bad storm to follow.  Others in the campground were losing their tents, their canopies… everything.  No one even saw the storm coming.  Pairing that with Ben being SO exhausted but having trouble falling asleep in such a weird place, with a sopping wet dog that is terrified of storms, and the fact that we clearly weren’t as prepared as I tried to be, we decided it was best if we just made a late night drive home to all sleep in our DRY, cool beds before the next storm came.

To make a long story short, Ben’s first camping trip was just a long day trip.  We are planning a more prepared (and hopefully overnight!) camping trip later this summer, and I will share with you all how it goes!

I keep thinking about ‘if Id known, I would’ve done *this* differently’, but I’m trying to stop myself when those thoughts creep up.  The thing is, I did the best I could based on the forecast I saw and for our first night in a tiny tent with a baby and a dog.  I planned, prepared, and packed, but sometimes, God has other plans.  I’m thankful we had an amazing day, we got to see my family, and that the drive was short enough to make it home that night to sleep in our beds.  We made some amazing memories, so all you can do is brush it off and laugh!  I’m choosing to look at life that way.

I hope you all decide that no matter what is going on in your world, you can change your mood if you change your mindset.  Take charge of your situation, look at all the good, and turn it into a positive experience!

Have a great rest of your week!

Ben helping Brandon set up the tent
Getting ready for a day on the lake! Jack is the most adventurous dog and is always along for the ride.
Brandon and my dad going out on the kayaks
Ben and my mom playing in the sun.  He loves his Grammy!
Cooling off at the pool

Feeling Crafty: Baby Shower Gift

My sister-in-law, Sandy, is PREGNANT!  They recently found out that they are having a baby boy in January, and I’m SO excited that I started making her baby shower gifts in September (the only reason I waited so long is because I was busy graduating college/getting married/honeymooning/starting my career in August, and I also wanted to wait to find out if their little bundle of joy is a girl or boy (gender-neutral gifts are no fun).

As soon as she found out she was pregnant, I started brainstorming gift ideas.  I LOVE finding the perfect gifts for people, and even more than finding them/making them, I love wrapping and presenting them.  I feel that the presentation of the gift is almost as important as the gift itself.  Maybe it’s because I’m a broke recent grad with lots of bills to pay, but I feel that a personalized dollar store gift can mean more than an expensive gift to someone if creativity and time was put into the way it looks when the recipient opens it.  Homemade cards with a genuine message mean a lot, too.

I received a new sewing machine for my bridal shower back in June (YES!) and I couldn’t wait to use it.  After searching for lots of patterns online and the perfect fabric at JoAnn’s, I created an adorable baby gift that I hope Sandy will love, and that her husband, Ralph, will appreciate, as well.

The first of my designs I found on the blog of Diary of a Quilter.  She had a wonderful tutorial on how to make a diaper clutch, which I think would make a perfect gift for any mother of a little one.  It is a colorful little pouch that can hold up to 3 diapers and a container of wipes; perfect to throw in your purse instead of lugging around a big ‘ol diaper bag when you are just going somewhere real quick.  It will also be convenient for her husband to carry (many good dads don’t mind carrying the whole diaper bag, including Ralph, but this is a much easier option for them).  I used a dinosaur patterned fabric for the outside, and a coordinating grey flannel for the lining.  I must say, for it being the first craft I made on my new sewing machine (and pretty much my first sewing project since seventh grade home-ec, since my last sewing machine was like a hundred years old and fell apart any time I touched it),  I was pretty proud of how it turned out.

Here are a few pictures of it before I added the Velcro.

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The only thing I would change for next time is the way I oriented my fabric.  I wasn’t thinking about it, but I visualized this clutch being more vertical than horizontal, with the Velcro at the top instead of the left, but that’s okay.  I love the soft, cute fabric and the fact that it can be thrown in the washer.

I also made her 3 coordinating burp cloths using a pattern I made myself.  They are the same dinosaur flannel with white terrycloth backing.  These were fun and easy to make, and I hope they will be very useful to them.


I also got my new little nephew a few books, as well as a little polo onesie and corduroy pants with matching tan socks that reminds me of something his Uncle Brandon would wear (my husband wears lots of polos and khakis).  I think that with the right presentation, this will be an adorable gift.

 I can’t wait to meet my new little baby nephew!

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