30-Week Pregnancy Thoughts

I am 30-weeks pregnant, which means I’m three-fourths of the way there. Yay! I cannot believe it’s just another 10 or so weeks before I get to meet this baby girl. Here’s a brain dump of what life looks like these days. 

30 weeks


Her room is coming together nicely! I don’t really have a theme, but want it as gender-neutral as possible with girly accessories. Here is a photo I posted on IG last weekend when J was setting up the crib. It’s definitely a work in progress — frames on the floor, newspaper on the wall where a gallery of art will go, and crepe paper decorations from our gender reveal party that I threw over the mirror. But I have a vision and it’s slowly getting prettier and more organized.


Registering for baby things is really overwhelming! There are so many differing opinions on brands and types and gadgets. I’ve taken a sampling of advice from various sources and hope I registered for everything I’ll need. We shall see. :)


I wake up any time between 12:30-4:30 to go to the bathroom and then toss and turn for hours. Recently I’ve said screw it and get out of bed to start laundry or read or eat cereal or unload the dishwasher. Leia is always confused by those late-night wanderings and doesn’t understand why I’m not feeding her breakfast at 2 in the morning. I’ll eventually fall back asleep then wake up with my 6am alarm groggy and wondering who this fairy godmother is who cleaned my house. Thankfully it doesn’t affect me too much throughout the day, I just fall asleep on the couch almost every evening around 8 pm.


I have a lot of dreams about things I shouldn’t be doing, like binge drinking and skiing and falling down and going a whole day without feeding the baby. I wake up in a panic thinking I’m the most selfish person in the world.

Maternity clothes:

Thank goodness for elastic pants and friends who loan you maternity clothes!


I love to feel her move and kick, which is often. She’s an active little one! I was telling J the other day that I feel like I have a super power. There is a tiny human inside me with its own unique DNA and personality and my body is helping its grow. When you really stop and think about it, isn’t it the most amazing, crazy thing in the whole world?!

Food and Cravings:

Honestly, I haven’t eaten much differently than when I wasn’t pregnant. I don’t have any aversions and the only thing I really crave is sugar. And cereal! Yum.


If you want to make a pregnant girl cry, talk about her weight. Which is what they do at every doctor’s appointment and I find myself all weepy when I am in my car afterwards. It makes me want to go order a milkshake.

I used to have little sympathy for pregnant women who complained about their weight. It’s like, duh, of course you’re going to gain weight! This is part of the process! Being this side of it, though, I get it. I have never felt so insecure about my body in my whole life. I feel so completely… out of control. I am trying to eat well and workout, but sometimes it’s really hard.

I have to constantly surrender my thoughts, do my best and recognize that at the end of the day my body is creating life and deserves a little grace. 


Aside from the aforementioned weeping in my car after a doctor’s appointment, I haven’t had any crazy mood swings.

Birth plan: 

Quick and painless, right? :) Seriously, though, I have an idea of what I want, but I’m holding those plans very loosely and trusting that God knows the story of my baby girl’s birthday already and it’s going to go just as He plans.

I like to think of labor and delivery kind of like a wedding. You have a wedding to get married. If the wedding doesn’t go like you planned…(it rains, your sister gets sick, you tear your veil, the music doesn’t play on time)… but you’re married by the end of it? Then the wedding was a success. Same with giving birth. If the birth doesn’t go like you planned…(your water breaks at work, you labor for hours, you get stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital, your doctor isn’t on call, you get an epideral, you have a c-section)… but get a baby at the end of it? Then the delivery was a success. 

Naming the baby: 

I love her name so much! Sometimes I’ll repeat it over and over when I’m alone in the car. We decided to keep her name a surprise until after she’s born, but I’ll definitely share more details why we chose it after she’s born. :)

Maternity leave and working:

The plan is to take a 12-week maternity leave and go back to work afterwards. J recently quit his job and is enrolled in an intense 12-week computer programming course that actually ends the week of my due date. (Ha! Not the greatest timing, but we’ll make it work.) So we are living off my income for now and I have every intention of going back full time after my maternity leave. Hopefully J can find a job soon after she’s born, in which we will enroll her in daycare, but otherwise he will watch her while he looks for a job. J is blogging all about his experience with this program, if you want to follow along. These next few months are going to be an adventure for sure!

On Motherhood: 

The closer we get to my due date, the more excited I am. I feel so honored and privileged to be this little girl’s mom and each day that goes by I get more excited about meeting her and finding out what her personality will be like. Just a few months away! :)

All the Books I Read in 2015

all the books i read in 2015

Here’s a summary of all of the books I read last year. My goal was to read 20 books, and I was surprised to find out I actually read 22 books. Score!

I categorized the books by genre and how I read it, and it was a pretty good mixture:


  • Historical fiction: 6
  • Fiction: 6
  • Christian non-fiction: 6
  • Non-fiction: 4

How I Read:

  • Library rental: 8
  • Audiobook: 6
  • Own: 6
  • Borrowed: 2

I keep all of the books I’ve read, am reading and want to read on my Goodreads profile, if you want to see more books I’ve read or are interested in. :)

All the books I read in 2015

Books I Read 2015

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Historical fiction | Library rental

I enjoyed this book. It had two parts — one part set in WWI in France and another set in present day London. The first part was by far my favorite, I really enjoyed the characters and really wanted to continue that story instead of jumping to the present day and get reintroduced to new characters. But it was easy to read and entertaining.

Good News of Great Joy by John Piper

Advent Devotional | Own it

I read this during the 2014 advent season and didn’t finish it until after the new year. Good!

Look and Live by Matt Papa

Christian non-fiction | Own it

Matt Papa was a worship leader at our church, and the girls in my small group decided to go through this book together. It was one of the best Christian Lifestyle books I’ve read in a long time. I loved the perspective that we are all worshipping something in our life, and we were made to worship the Lord and are most satisfied when we are worshipping him. Highly recommend this book, it is full of truth and joy.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

Christian non-fiction | Library rental

As a follower of Jen Hatmaker through social media and her blog, I didn’t learn too much new in this book of their story, but it was a really great reminder of our purpose as the Church and not just consumers. If you’re new to Jen Hatmaker, I recommend reading this book of her’s first.

Fun fact — I left $5 when I returned this book to the library in honor of Owen, my friend’s baby who died in April 2014. The recipient of my random act of kindness took a photo and tweeted to Jen Hatmaker, who then posted it on her Facebook page. This post had over 17,000 likes, almost 400 comments, and over 1,000 shares, which then inspired this post. What! Allison and I could not stop laughing at the hilarity of it all. It brought so much joy during a season of mourning.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

Christian non-fiction | Own it

Man, this book. It was powerful for me. In fact, I feel like I should re-read it because I’m sure there are things I missed the first time around. Her writing is very lyrical and deep, and gave so much hope in the midst of hard times. Highly recommend to anyone going through a hard time. My favorite quote was: “If my chief end as a mother is anything less than knowing Him and carrying His glory, I will walk through these years empty.”

Books I Read 2015_2

The Secret Daughter by Shilipi Somaya Gowda

Fiction | Library rental

This book was okay. It was the story of a couple in India who put their daughter up for adoption and the couple in America who adopted her. I didn’t like it at all in the beginning, but it got a little better as I continued reading.

Adopted for Life Russell D. Moore

Christian non-fiction | Library rental

J and I are passionate about adoption, both seeing other families adopt and possibly adopting for ourselves one day. This is a great book for Christians to read on why adoption is important and how the Church can help in this issue.  I thought he was a little too Southern-Baptist at times, but otherwise agreed with most of what he said and it was good to read more about adoptive stories.

The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Historical fiction | Library rental

I really like Jojo Moyes as an author (this is the fourth book of hers I’ve read) and love the way she writes and weaves characters together. But while this book was entertaining and enjoyable, I found it unsettling to read about a love affair. Maybe I’m just a sucker for fidelity and marriage.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Non-fiction | Own

The author is a little kooky in her philosophy (ex: thanking her handbag at the end of the day), but if you can get past that it’s a very practical and helpful guide on how to organize your home. I started to declutter my home in the spring last year and need to continue going through my home, especially before the baby comes. I hope to blog more about this approach and my experiences once I’m finished.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Young adult fiction | Audiobook rental

A sweet young adult story about a group of brilliant kids who solve mysteries. I’ve tried to start the next book in the series but can’t seem to get into it.

Books I Read 2015_3

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Fiction | Library rental

Ugh. One star for this book. This was a popular summer read and I thought it would make for a good pool-side page turner. It was a page turner, for sure, but not worth it in my opinion. I didn’t like any of the characters in this book and there was no redemption at all. It confirmed that disturbing books, no matter how popular, are not worth reading for me. I don’t think I’ll ever read anything by Gillian Flynn.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Historical fiction | Library rental

This is the story of two sisters who are evacuated from London during the beginning of WWII and their experiences during the war. Really enjoyed reading.

Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren

Memoir | Library rental

A memoir of the author’s experience adopting her son from Africa. She spends the first chapter talking about their journey to adoption, and the second half about adjusting to life with an adopted child. While it was well-written and a great story, I was a little discouraged there wasn’t more hope in the end. She spent most of the book talking about the struggles adopting a child with trauma, and then seemed to run out of time and wrapped it up with “but things are better now!”

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Fiction | Audiobook rental

This is a story of an orphan girl who has a love and passion for flowers and their meanings, and you learn more of her past and how it shapes her future. It took me a little while to get into, but ended up being better than I originally thought.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Historical fiction | Audiobook rental

This book was long, but so good. It is a story set in WWII about a blind French girl and her father, and a smart, young German orphan, and their stories before and during the war. My favorite character was Marie-Laure’s father; his love for her was so sweet and endearing.

Books I Read 2015_4

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

Christian non-fiction | Own it

A light, funny read on how to show grace to ourselves, our families and our communities in a world full of impossible standards. I would have preferred a little more depth, but regardless it was a quick, entertaining read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

Historical fiction | Audiobook rental

This post-World War II book had everything I was looking for in a light and witty read. If you’re looking for a good audiobook to listen to, the narrators were fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book on walks and my commute.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Young adult fiction | Audiobook rental

If I didn’t have anything else to listen to I would not have kept going on this book. I had heard good things about this book, but realize young adult romances are just not for me. Too much emotion and drama, and I don’t care enough about the characters to be invested.

Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly

Non-fiction | Own it

I first heard about this book on Cup of Jo’s blog as the best book for mothers-to-be, and was excited to read it when I became pregnant. It is a series of letters from a poet to her pregnant friend about the joys of motherhood. In a society full of passive-aggressive mom guilt and varied opinions on labor and raising children, it was a lovely and refreshing peak into the joys that await me soon.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Fiction | Borrowed from my mom

This is a good vacation read, as it goes by fast and is easy to follow. I quickly got into this book, but didn’t end up loving all of the characters or the plot.

Books I Read 2015_5

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Historical fiction | Audiobook rental

This was my favorite novel I read this year. What a great story! It was another WWII book and had everything I love in a novel: great characters, intriguing plot, and a redemptive ending. I loved it.

Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy /

Non-fiction | Borrowed from a friend

Meh. One of my fellow pregnant friends let me borrow this book and I finished it in a couple of days. This is the kind of book that made me love Great with Child so much — it was pretty much just 200 pages of the author complaining about all of the changes that pregnancy brings. While it was nice to know I am not alone, but was sometimes a little too crass and didn’t make me feel any better about this journey. 

Okay, so there’s my list.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think?
And more importantly, what should I put on my reading list for 2016?! :)

January to April Goals

Happy New Year, friends!

happy new year

Normally I jump into the new year with a list of goals and resolutions, but this year is a little different. It’s going to be a big year of transition for us, both with a new baby due in the spring and career changes for J, so I decided to stick with just the next four months.

So here are my new year goals before our baby arrives:

– Go on a trip with J. We are going to Asheville this weekend as a little babymoon getaway. Should be a chilly, but lovely time!

– Go to church whenever we are in town. Last year we got into the habit of making church optional, only attending when we had time or when it was convenient. I’d like to change our mentality so if we are in town there’s no question of whether we are going, just which service.

– Unplug and start to create healthy technology habits. I’m a little nervous about introducing a baby into this ever-changing digital world. I am not sure yet what my stance or parenting style will be on the amount of screen time we will allow, but I really want to be intentional about my screen time, starting now. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly this will look like, and want to do some reading on the topic and see what has worked for other people. If anyone has any ideas of things that have worked for you, I’d love to hear!

– Blog about our Europe trip. I have about a dozen blog posts partially written that I have been meaning to publish. Even though the trip was almost a year ago, I really want a record of our itinerary for my own purposes to reference in the future.

– Create a new budget and stay on track. Our budget looks very different this year and starting this month we are making some pretty drastic changes. It will probably take a little while to adjust, but ultimately we need to stick to the new budget and adjust our lifestyle accordingly.

– Finish getting my nursery set up. This includes:

  • Get a crib and assemble it
  • Find an upholstered glider
  • Finish finding prints and hang gallery wall
  • Hang book ledges on the wall
  • Make a mobile to hang over the changing dresser
  • Empty and clean the closet and dressers
  • Wash all of her clothes and put them away

– Clean and organize the house. I have a huge long checklist that I’m working through (using the KonMari method), and I really want to have things as clean and organized before April as possible.

– Say YES as much as possible. As long as I am feeling well, I want to say yes to friends and family as much as possible, since I know that life after a baby will be altered dramatically and my top priority will be caring for an infant.

What goals do you have this year? Anything we should add to our pre-baby to do list? :) 


What I’ve been up to


Hello dear blog readers! Goodness, four months without a post? Tsk tsk.

I’ve started and stopped this post dozens of times throughout the last few months. Not because I don’t know what to say — there’s plenty of things to catch you guys up on! — but I always got distracted or was tired of looking at another screen after my work day. But here I am parked at Panera with a friend who has her own work to catch up on, so I thought it would be a good time to finally update this blog. :) So I’m just going to type away all that I’m thinking and then hit Publish.

Let’s get going shall we?

Well, for starters, I’m pregnant! If you follow me on social media you probably know this already, but we are expecting a baby girl in April. I am so excited I cannot even handle it. Every time I feel the flutters in my belly (which lately has been often) I am full of thanksgiving and praise. What a miracle life is!

After our miscarriage in the spring, a few friends asked whether I was willing to try again so soon after such a traumatic experience, but my feelings were the opposite — all I wanted was to be pregnant again. Not to replace the baby we lost, but because I just wanted to be a mom so badly.

We found out about this little April miracle on August 7th, which we realized later is the anniversary of the day we got engaged.

4 weeks pregnant, the day after we found out hiking the Eno River trail in Durham

I have had so much peace about this pregnancy, which is truly a gift from the Lord. From the very beginning I have had a strong sense that I am going to get to meet this baby. A few weeks after we found out I had a little scare, very similar to the series of events that occurred in my first pregnancy, so we scheduled an appointment to see the baby earlier than expected. We were delighted to see the baby was developing well and had a strong heart beat.

J and I were convinced we were having a boy from the beginning, but thought it would be fun to have a gender reveal party with our two families to find out for sure. We had our 18-week anatomy scan appointment on a Friday, the week before Thanksgiving, and told the ultrasound tech to write down the gender in an envelope we brought. My sisters and their husbands came to down that night (spent the evening decorating this box) and then the next morning my parents and J’s family came over. J went to Party City and gave them the envelope, and picked up the box filled with either pink or blue balloons.

I have never in all my life been so surprised to see those pink balloons. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.


I thought it was a boy for so long it took about a week or so for it to really sink in that we are having a girl. A daughter! I have always wanted to have a girl, so it feels too good to be true.

Overall this pregnancy has been very smooth, and for that I am thankful. I had some nausea and lethargy in the early weeks, but otherwise I’ve been feeling great. Aside from crying at a Barbie commercial a few days after finding out we were having a girl (ha), I’ve been pretty even-keel emotionally, which has been nice as well. :) I still have four months to go, of course, so I’m sure it’ll get more uncomfortable, but overall it has been a very great pregnancy and for that I’m thankful.

There may be a few of you who find all of this hard to read. I will admit, it feels a little unfair to be pregnant twice in one year. I know of so many wonderful women who have been trying to get pregnant and are still longing and waiting, and I just want you to know, I get it. It’s so hard. Waiting and longing for something and each month being disappointing totally sucks.

Hmm what else is new?

I turned 30 years old in September and went to the mountains with some dear friends to celebrate. I thought that turning 30 would be this really big epic life event, but it’s really just an age isn’t it? Getting older is not as scary as it used to be, and I am so excited about this next decade. We joined a new small group this semester, which we have come to love. My work continues to go well. Leia continues to be a doll of a dog. We spent a week with my family at the beach. We went to visit some friends in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago. And I can’t believe we’re about to celebrate Christmas and New Years in the next few weeks.

Thank you to all who continue to read this and have sent me messages in the last few months. What’s the future of this blog, you ask? I’m not sure, and that’s okay with me. This blog has evolved so much in the last few years and I’ve thought about shutting it down a few times, since I enjoy putting most of my energy into offline friends or updating Instagram, but I can never seem to quit it. I love writing in here and even if it’s four months between posts, I plan to keep it up.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Here’s to a great 2016!

Summer 2015


IMG_6584IMG_6640 IMG_6898 IMG_6924  IMG_6333 IMG_6210 IMG_6387-1 IMG_6478-1  IMG_6431 IMG_6620

This was the summer of:

Reading: I read The Girl on the Train, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Secrets of a Charmed Life, Adopted for Life, Everything You Ever Wanted, and half way through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which is worthy of mentioning because halfway is still 500+ pages!!). I’m still going through the chronological bible study, which I started at the beginning of the year, and sadly have only made it through Deuteronomy. Slow and steady my friends.

Podcasts. My new favorite podcast is the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and I listened to all 50 of them in the last few months. I listen when I go for walks with Leia or play on my commute to/from work. Jamie is such a great host and has amazing guests join her show.

Gyros. When we weren’t grilling, this was our summer go-to meal: Shredded chicken, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and tzatziki sauce (must be cedar’s) all in a pita. I haven’t actually cooked anything substantial in months, it’s been too hot to turn on the oven! But the cooler weather is starting to appear, which means the dutch oven, roasting pans and baking sheets will all be coming out of their summer hibernation. I’m so ready!

S’mores. I wish I could tell you we’ve been making a campfire in our backyard each night, but we just zap them in the microwave for 10 seconds. Still gooey and delicious.

Family. I saw my family every few weeks since May. Mainly to see this cutie!

TV Marathons. J and I like to have one comedy and one drama on the docket for whenever we need a relaxing evening in front of the TV. This summer we started re-watching Friends, and our dramas included catching up on the latest season of Scandal (Fitz and Olivia drive me crazy) and the West Wing (which still holds up and oddly have the same political issues today as in 1998). When J is not around I have been watching Gossip Girl. How did I miss that show after college?

Walks with Leia. This is not exclusive to summer, but I have had many long walks with the puppy after work, normally listening to the aforementioned podcasts.

What are you going to remember from Summer 2015? 

September Goals


Oh heyyy, Internet! It’s been a while. Let’s just ignore the two-month radio silence and jump back in shall we? Because September is here! One of my favorite months! Time to get in the last sunny days of summer and enjoy the first hints of fall. This month is going to be pretty busy with three out of four weekends out of town… labor day weekend at the beach with my inlaws, then a mountain trip with friends, and then heading to Charlotte for a friends’ baby shower. I’m also turning 30 this month so there’s that. :)


August goals (I didn’t publish on the blog, but made them anyways):

  • Paint our guest room
  • Make a headboard with my sister/ See the progress pic here
  • Try three new recipes
  • Tidy home – garage
  • Don’t buy stupid crap! 
  • Finish two books
  • Eat a protein-rich breakfast most mornings 

September Goals:

  • Continue to eat a protein-rich breakfast in the mornings
  • Try to get at least 8,000 – 10,000 steps on average per day with my jawbone
  • Finish two books
  • Organize the garage

What are you up to this month?