Monday, October 19, 2015


Becoming bold.
I'm talking to you, mamas.

This is a characteristic I've never associated with myself or motherhood until recently.

Motherhood is a new season for me, and I love finding others who are walking this same path. It's such an encouragement to walk alongside friends and learn from each other. It might mean trying something new, going some place you've never been, and talking with new people.

You might not be able to find a playgroup that meets at the right time or location for your baby because of nap schedules, feedings, or feeling odd jumping into an established group. So, start one. I did and love it.

Look for activities for you and your baby to do together. CHP and I love going to the library for baby story time every week. She loves the music, hearing the stories, watching other babies, and we both like getting out of the house.

J and I have tried a couple of small groups at church. It's been hard adding CHP into the mix because some small groups bring the kids. For us, this option wasn't ideal, so we kept looking and have found a different small group that seems to be a better fit.

I've been encouraged by reading For the Love to keep pursuing community. It has been great talking with J and figuring out what that looks like and how we can love others.

It might take a step of boldness, being uncomfortable, and reaching out again, but keep trying!
Happy Monday, mamas!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Building memories as a family is so important to me and when friends are like family, vacationing with them is the best! 

Two of my best girlfriends, their husbands and us love to try and meet up a couple or more times a year. Now that the wedding season of our lives is coming to a close, we're looking forward to traveling to new places and each others' homes more often. 

Labor Day week, we met our besties in Tybee Island and had the best time. 

They are incredible to let us bring and love on our beach-hating baby. How can she be my child, if she hates the beach!? Maybe next summer we'll have more success when the waves, noise, and sand aren't so overwhelming.

Adding a baby into the mix, sure does change things: early dinners, early bedtimes, nap scheduling, and general fussiness being out of her routine, but it's so much fun having her spend time with people we love and see new places.

None of us had been to Tybee before and liked the beach and loved that it's so close to Savannah. The boys golfed, and the girls shopped. We snuck in some beach time with J and I trading to watch CHP nap in the condo. Our favorite spots were: Tybee Social Club, Collins Quarter, Tequila's Town, and Red Clover.

We can't wait for our next trip together! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

This Rain Makes Me Basic

I know everyone is over this rain, but I'm loving it.

I love that it has brought cooler weather. This summer was so beastly hot.

Postpartum hormones + hot natured + carrying CHP, a diaper bag, and car seat everywhere = sweaty, gross mama ALL summer long.

I love wearing my Hunter boots. day. after day.

I love another reason to brew a second pot of Trader Joe's pumpkin coffee. Even if it means reheating it five times because I've gotten distracted with CHP.

I love alternating between my Lulu pants and my new favorite Target pants. They are the softest, most comfy, lounging pants ever. Go buy a pair; you'll thank me.

I love our growing grass. We had it planted before all of the rain started, and now we have a lush, green yard. It makes me so excited for all the hours of playtime we'll get out of it next spring when CHP starts walking.

I love that CHP's nap schedule has been amazing this week. Her room is so dark, and she's napped for longer than usual, which probably means we need to purchase darker blinds.

I love another excuse to go grab a latte at local coffee shops with friends. If you're in the area, Jubala has a pumpkin spice that tastes like pumpkin pie, and Sola has one that is lightly spiced and only slightly sweet, which is how I like a latte. I know, #basic right?

This week has been exactly what we needed. People seem to always ask what CHP and I do all day, and we keep ourselves busy between baby story time at the library, playgroup, Bible study, small group, seeing friends, running errands, and playing at home. But this week, we didn't have many plans and loved a little down time before I work this weekend.

Snuggle up, light a fall candle, brew a pot of coffee, and enjoy your rainy weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Thinking Fall

Yes, I'm thinking about fall on these 90+ degree days. I love, love summer, but this one has been brutal. And totting a baby, car seat, and diaper bag has left me a sweaty mess most days.

Fall and slightly cooler days, I'm ready for you.

I'm ready for crisp lake walks, pumpkin everything, crunchy leaves, and all the fall candles.

While I've been wishing for cooler temps, I've also been looking at fall fashion. I'm excited about pulling out old clothes that I couldn't wear last year and adding some new ones. My mom uniform for summer has been flowy tops and shorts. Easy access to the boobs is key for nursing. My fall wardrobe will definitely have to incorporate that aspect.

Ok, so I need some help. I don't want to be that frumpy mom who doesn't shower, has greasy hair, and wears gym clothes all day long without working out. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely those days around here too, but I'd prefer it not be every day. In preparing for fall, I've been scouring blogs for inspiration. I'm sure you've seen them, but I love Caroline's capsule wardrobes and am thinking about creating my own. I'm a frugal shopper and love the idea of purchasing everything at the beginning of a season and then saving the rest of the months.

Guilty Target shopper?

Yes, that's me.
I chronically pick one or two pieces up almost every trip. In thinking through my fall wardrobe purchases, I would rather have fewer, high quality pieces than a closet stocked full of mediocre pieces.

I'd say my style is fairly classic and neutral. So, where should I shop for reasonable, cute, new pieces?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Traveling with Bebe

If you've ever flown with a baby, you know it's quite the task. There is so. much. stuff.

Here are my top picks for packing and traveling with a baby:

Packing cubes. They will save your sanity while you're packing and once you've reached your destination. 

Baby Carrier. I wore CHP in her Baby Bjorn through both airports to have my hands free for luggage. 

Diapers and wipes. Unless, you're going somewhere that you can easily purchase these, it's best to pack them. 

Clothes. Pack a couple extra onesies, jammies, and outfits for those unexpected poop explosions. They'll happen. 

Car seat. This was a huge first-time-parent fail. We rented a car and car seat; however, they did not install it due to liability. After flying with a baby, strapping her to my chest, getting my bags, and shuttling to the car rental, installing a car seat was the last thing I wanted to do. So my advice is, bring and check your car seat. Even if you have to pay for it, it's cheaper than renting it from a car rental. 

Stroller and travel bag. I loved having our stroller in Chicago. CHP took a few naps in it, and while I love baby carriers, it was too hot to walk around the city with her on my chest. Before leaving, I purchased the travel bag for our stroller, and it guarantees our stroller if it's damaged during the flight. We were also allowed to gate check it for free. 

Covered Goods. This is essential for breastfeeding while traveling. I nursed CHP on both flights, at restaurants, and on our boat ride.

Toys. I packed a few of CHP's favorites to keep in my diaper bag for the flights, at dinner, and in the hotel room.

Happy baby traveling! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

City Love

J and I, both love the urban lifestyle and love to travel. Traveling may look a little different these days with CHP, but we want her to see and experience new places with us. In five short months, we've flown to NYC and now Chicago.

I hope she always loves to travel with us. 

We loved...

Beatrix for brunch. The brunch hour is relative when you have a five month old in tow. Ours happened to be at 8:30am on Saturday morning. But brunch on the weekends is just the best, so it doesn't matter what time you actually eat it right?
I highly recommend the chicken tinga and a latte. 

The Architecture boat tour is a must. We chose the Wendella because infants are free and was slightly shorter than other lines. 

Walking the city streets. We all loved the sights of Michigan Avenue. But Saturday, I grabbed an iced Intelligentsia coffee and the largest chocolate chip cookie and shopped while CHP napped, and J caught up on golf. 

Eating deep dish Chicago pizza. Although, that will be a one and done for us. Can you have too much cheese, sauce, and crust? We say, yes. 

We couldn't miss taking Bean pictures. I think, J rolled his eyes at how many photos I made us take together. 

The Publican. Our breakfast was tasty, but Beatrix was better. 

We're loyal Marriott stayers, and the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile did not disappoint. The added touch was sending bath soaps, lotion, and a rubber ducky for babes. 

View from our upgraded suite. CHP is a charmer.

I'm hoping J can find a reason to go back, so we can have another Chicago weekend. Here are a few things on my list for next time: 
Lincoln Park Zoo
Children's Museum
Sky deck at the Willis Tower 
shop, shop, shop. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monthly Posts

Lately, I've been struggling with whether or not to post monthly updates about CHP. I have written two that are ready to be published, but I can't bring myself to post them. I keep thinking about her privacy and protecting her. It's another reason why I haven't shared her name and hope to keep it private on social media. So, if you are friends with us, I'd kindly ask that you refer to her as CHP.

For now, I'm going to keep those posts as drafts. I love writing and posting about her and being a mom. This is such an incredible time of life, but I need to be careful how it is shared. Who knows, there may actually be more posts around here now that I've decided to keep her monthly updates private.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Breastfeeding: Months 1-3

It's a sore, painful, rewarding, and sweet process all rolled into one.

Just like being a mom, I've enjoyed breastfeeding so much more than I thought I would. 

At the beginning, I nursed through the pain and soreness but wondered if I could keep going. I used Angel Baby Nipple Butter after every feed, and it helped so much with the initial healing. J has been an incredible support during our hospital stay and afterwards. I'm glad he went to the breastfeeding class and was there when the lactation consultant showed us different hold positions.

Pumping: At week 3, I started pumping because our pediatrician suggested we introduce a bottle between 2-4 weeks. (Everyone seems to have a different opinion about when to introduce a bottle because the lactation consultants told us not until 4-6 weeks. We chose to follow our pediatrician because I didn't want her to refuse a bottle later on). Initially, I pumped after feedings and would only get 0.5-1oz. I didn't want to take milk away from her or alter my supply too much.

After a few weeks, I stopped pumping after feeds and added a "feed" by pumping once during the day, every day.

Once CHP started sleeping longer, I started pumping in the morning before she got up. Occasionally at night, I pump depending on if I feel full and need relief before her long stretch of sleeping.

Storage: I have been using the Ameda storage bags and lay them flat in the freezer until frozen before transferring them into gallon size ziplocks for easy freezer storage. I've organized them by date and ounces, so it's easy to grab the oldest ones first.

Products I love: My SIL gave me her Medela Pump in Style Advanced, and I bought all new parts for it. I've really liked this pump and don't have any complaints about it.

My covered goods cover has been a life saver. I cannot recommend it enough. I used it for the first time traveling to NYC; I nursed in the airport, plane, and the whole weekend around family. Before using it, I never nursed in public. It felt too awkward trying to get CHP organized without flashing someone. It also doubles as a car seat cover, which is nice when she naps on errands.

Bottles: My cousin gave me all of her Avent and Tomee Tippee bottles. I've really liked both. CHP seems more gassy with both, but I think that is a general problem with bottles instead of the breast.

Our breastfeeding journey always seems to be changing. I'm curious to see how things change when I head back to work, and CHP has to take bottles for 14 hours. I'll also have to figure out the most efficient way to pump and store milk at work.

To be continued...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Motherhood Monday: Baby Favorites


CHP and I have been loving these items this month...

Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter: I think I found this item through another blog, and I have to say it is definitely a must-have for new breastfeeding mamas. I used it after every feed in the hospital, and it helped so much with soreness and healing.

Boppy Lounger: One of my friends bought this for me, and it is amazing. CHP was too small for her swing when we first brought her home, so we started using her lounger. It's perfect to have her sit in while I'm doing things around the house, cooking, or just hanging out together. She loves it!

Boppy Pillow: This has been so helpful with my back pain from breastfeeding. Since I'm still new to breastfeeding, it's hard to get CHP situated and in a position that I'm not straining my arms and back for feedings. 

Wubbanub: We didn't introduce CHP to a pacifier until her second week because we were afraid of nipple confusion. But it's only been within the past week that CHP has started liking her wubbanub. It does help to soothe her during the fussy hours in the afternoon/early evening.

Swaddle Blankets: I love these Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. They are so soft and cute. I used them in the hospital and every day since being home. They are great for burp cloths, an additional prop for nursing, and to swaddle her in her lounger. At night, we've been using the Halo swaddles. I was also given a SwaddleMe, and it is my favorite. It fits her better than the Halo ones and is easier since it's all velcro.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Maternity: weeks 39 & 40

Here is a little catch up from a couple of weeks ago. Time is flying around here...

Week 39:  
This week was filled with ice, snow, and a surprise! 

Monday, I got out after having cabin fever from last week's snow fall. I took my friend, Emily's Pure Barre class, and her classes are always my favorites. Tuesday, we had more snow and ice, so I didn't leave the house again. No one wanted a falling preggo. 

Wednesday, my mom came into town. We were supposed to go to an afternoon tea but with the icy weather and being 39 weeks pregnant we decided to grab lattes closer to home. 

That night, we went out to our favorite Mexican place. Little did we know this would be our last photo as two

That night, we got a huge (for Raleigh) snow storm that brought trees and power lines down, and we lost power for 17 hours. On Thursday, J worked from home. Since it was freezing in our house, we huddled together around our fireplace trying to stay warm. Mom and I read and tried to stay distracted from contractions that started that morning. They lightened up throughout the day, and we finally got power back in the evening. 

J & I decided to go to bed early after such a cold, snowy day. I started watching a Parenthood in bed, and my contractions started coming more frequently and consistently. I timed them for almost two hours, and they became more intense until I woke J up around 11pm. I couldn't lay down anymore and was walking around our bedroom. I kept thinking it couldn't be the real thing and didn't want to go to the hospital and be sent home. Since they were more intense than any I'd had before and more frequent, J convinced me to call my OB. When she heard my contractions were more intense and five minutes apart for the past two hours, she said to head into the hospital. We packed the last few items in our bags and headed in around 12:30am. 

Little did I know how fast Miss CHP would come...birth story to follow! 

Week 40:
Welcome to the world CHP!

My sweet CHP was born one day before her due date. She was a tiny peanut at birth. Labor & delivery was an incredible experience, and I still cannot believe she's here. I absolutely love being CHP's mom and have fallen even more in love with my husband seeing him as a dad. I can't put into words what an amazing time this is for us.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gender Reveal Party

Our gender reveal party was months ago, but I never got around to blogging about it until now. (I'm catching up on things thanks to maternity leave). We decided not to find out the gender until the day of the party with our family and friends. It was such an exciting moment, and I'm so glad we decided to find out this way.

At our 18 week ultrasound, we had our ultrasound lady write the gender on an index card and place it into an envelope that I dropped off at the bakers. I cannot say enough great things about The Cupcake Shoppe. They created a gorgeous, delicious cake, and even placed the mini banner that I made on top, so I wouldn't mess it up and find out the gender early. If you need a cake, cupcakes, or cookies, I highly recommend them. Plus, if you follow them on IG, you'll drool over their creations.

The Cupcake Shoppe
On the invitation, I wrote that everyone should wear pink or blue to cast their vote. It was fun to see everyone's picks, and surprisingly, it was completely even on boy or girl. Once everyone arrived, we both cut into the cake and couldn't believe it was a GIRL!

I was so excited I apparently almost threw the cake over my head while I was dancing around. I've always wanted a little girl. I want a boy too, but I'm so excited that our first will be a girl. I just couldn't believe it because I thought the whole time that our baby was a boy. We had picked a girl name at the very beginning of pregnancy but were stuck about a boy's until the week of the party. I thought that might be a sign that it was a boy since we finally found one we both liked. But it's a sweet little girl who we get to meet soon!

The details...
Honestly, I'm not a very creative person, so I turned to pinterest for all of my party inspiration. Almost everything that I made is on this board

We kept the food easy for this party, so we could enjoy time with our family and friends instead of stressing about timing or keeping things hot. Everything was made either the day before or the morning of the party. 

You can see from the spread, it was pretty simple. We did ham & cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, veggies & dip, fruit bow ties, meatballs, drinks, and cake

The above mantel banner, behind me and my sister, was made out of blue and pink polka dot tissue paper. I saw straws on pinterest that were mustaches, so I copied them and cut out bow ties from felt. And I made bows out of the napkins to hold the silverware.

We had so much fun hosting this party, and I would definitely do a gender reveal party again. I loved the anticipation and excitement of finding out our baby's gender with so many loved ones.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's in my hospital bag

At 39 weeks, my bag is packed and ready for CHP's arrival. I love to gather tips from other people, so if I'm forgetting any essentials, please tell me. We also don't live far from the hospital, so if I forget something the grandparents can always bring it. 

1. Clothing Essentials
My cousin gave me a few nursing tanks for at the hospital and home. I purchased these Target pants in black and gray. They are extremely comfortable and soft, and I also read that dark clothes are key post-partum. I'm also going to throw in my robe for during labor and post-partum in case I want/can walk the halls. I thought about adding a button down shirt for nursing and that might look cute in photos. I also packed the non-glamous items: granny panties, pads, and nursing pads, just in case I need them. 

2. Toiletries & Make-up 
I have a travel kit ready to go and just need to toss in my favorite make-up essentials. I know, I probably won't wear much but after labor and a shower, I think that it'll make me feel better to freshen up. 

3. Slippers & Flip-flops
I put in my slippers for walking the halls and room. The flip-flops are for the shower. No matter how "clean" a hospital looks, they really aren't so these will definitely be used.

4. A bag of hard candy
I've read it's great to have hard candy for during labor when you're not allowed to eat. A bag of mints and ginger chews sounded good to me. I also packed a few protein bars, cheez-its, and gummy candy for J in case he gets hungry during the labor process. 

5. Candy for the nurses
I bought a few bags of assorted candy to have in a basket in my hospital room to give as a thank-you for anyone who takes care of me and CHP. I always like it when families bring us food at work, so I wanted to do the same. I also plan on having family bring bagels or donuts and coffee for the staff while we're there. Believe me, no nurse will say yes if you offer to buy them coffee, but they won't turn down free coffee and breakfast given to them at the nurses' station. 

6. Camera & computer
I need to keep the battery charged for both of these. I think having our nice camera there for CHP's first photos will be great. I also think having the computer will be nice entertainment if we're waiting for a while for CHP.

7. Paperwork, insurance, & ID

8. Hair products
I've already put dry shampoo in my bag and will be bringing my hair dryer too. I think I'll want both of these depending on what my hair is looking/feeling like after delivery. 

CHP's diaper bag
I decided not to pack too many things for her because the hospital will have diapers, wipes, bulb syringe, etc for her. There are just a few personal items I wanted for her. 

1. Boppy pillow 
I'm planning on breastfeeding and would like the lactation consultants to help me figure out how to hold her with the pillow, so I'm prepared when we get home. 

2. Swaddle blankets
I know they have plenty of swaddle blankets but lots of babies have used them, and I want her soft blankets from home. We're also packing an extra one to get her scent on it and send it home with family for Aida to smell before we come home. 

3. Bows, clothes, & hats
I'm so excited to put her in her coming home outfit! It has her name on it and a matching "C" hat. I also packed a few bows that hopefully she can wear if she doesn't have too big of a cone head.

That pretty much covers everything. Mamas, am I missing anything essential to our hospital stay? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Maternity Monday: week 38

Week 38: 
This is my first week of maternity leave, and I loved it! I'm very thankful I started this week because we got snow, and I would have been nervous being this pregnant braving the snow. Thanks PICU nurses who were there taking care of the kids! 

This week, was the most relaxing week I've had in a long time. It was so nice to stay in pjs, watch the snow, work on some small projects at the house, take naps (since I'm hardly sleeping at night), and watch Parenthood. I did start having cramps/Braxton Hicks but nothing too crazy yet. I had a great appointment on Friday, and I'm hoping we don't make it to our next one. 

Thursday and Friday were packed seeing PICU friends for breakfast at Joule, lunch at Fosters, and coffee at Jubala and Sola. It was so much fun catching up with friends. I've only been gone a week, but it feels a lot longer. On Sunday, we were invited to brunch at our friends with three other couples. We had a great time, and I hope it becomes a new tradition. 

J is the sweetest and keeps doing so much around the house and telling me to relax. It's still crazy to think that in the next week or so we'll be parents. We cannot wait to meet our little girl! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maternity Monday: week 37

Week 37, you were a little bit of a crazy one. I worked my last shift this week! After discussing it for a while, J and I decided it would be best if I stopped after this week and had a week or two to relax and prep for CHP's arrival. I worked Monday, and then came down with a horrible stomach bug that night. I ended up missing my last shift on Tuesday and laying in bed watching Parenthood and napping all day trying to keep crackers down. 

I finally started feeling better on Thursday and went out to do some errands and started having contractions! I thought for sure we would meet CHP that night but by the time I got home they had slowed down and stopped that night. 
We got to see CHP at our appointment on Friday. I'm so glad that my OBs have continued to check her growth since I'm continuing to measure behind, and she said that CHP is full term, so she can come any time. CHP is already 6lbs 10oz!

J and I are soaking up the weekends and time together; we're always anticipating that it might be our last days without CHP. It's such a crazy feeling that she could be here today or in three weeks.

We aren't huge Valentine's Day people, but for our last one, we went to my favorite brunch place: Joule. We spent the afternoon grabbing cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery (they made our gender reveal cake), driving around looking at houses, and checking out a furniture store before J made a delicious steak, mashed potatoes, and asparagus dinner. It was a great weekend and might be one of our last. I'm so excited and nervous to meet our sweet girl.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Maternity Monday: weeks 35 & 36

Week 35: The weeks are flying! 

I'm so glad that we've made it to 35 weeks! I know it's irrational but for so much of my pregnancy I was nervous she would come early and have lots of medical issues (I know too much being a PICU nurse). Now, I can breath easier because she's almost full term. 

I'm definitely more tired/get worn out more easily these days, but I actually have loved the third trimester. I love that I am feeling CHP move all the time with big kicks and jabs. And I feel so much better about her upcoming arrival now that house projects are getting done and her nursery is finished.

The best part of this week came on Saturday. I met one of my out-of-town friends for a Pure Barre class, and then we drove to another friends for what I thought was lunch. They completely surprised me with a baby shower! Tracey, my sweet and incredible hair stylist, and the PB girls are so kind and thoughtful. It meant so much to me to spend the afternoon with them celebrating CHP! 

Week 36: After my night shifts this week, we met our pediatrician. I like the practice and am excited that they'll be visiting us in the hospital every day to check on CHP.

For only working two shifts this week, it ended up being a packed week full of fun things. My mom came into town for a couple of days, I got my hair cut and colored by Tracey, I had an OB appointment, and met PICU friends for hot mini donuts and lattes at Sola.

Friday evening and Saturday, I went to IF: Local. I loved IF: Gathering last year and was excited to meet Raleigh women interested in IF. Last year, it was hard to explain my excitement and passion about this conference. So, it was great connecting with women who are excited about gathering, community, and change.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Maternity Monday: Third Trimester

Hello third trimester! And a warning: this is a long post...

Week 29: We're starting the third trimester! I can't believe how incredibly fast this pregnancy has gone. I feel like we only just announced that our family was growing, and now we're starting the third trimester. 

During December, I've been working lots of nights shifts, so emotions and being tired have continued. Outside of flipping, I've felt really great and had energy. I've started getting up one to two times a night for a potty break, and I'm loving being pregnant during the holidays and enjoying tasty foods. I'm also so thankful I haven't experienced any nausea during this pregnancy! I'm excited to also say I've continued working out 3-4 times a week, doing Pure Barre and walking Aida. 

Week 30: Christmas is here!

One huge perk of being in my third trimester is that our families are so sweet and have traveled to us to celebrate Christmas! My in-laws came the weekend before Christmas, and my family came the weekend after.

My SIL and I are exactly two months apart in pregnancies! It has been so much fun to share this experience with her. We cannot wait for Baby Boy P to arrive in April! We loved celebrating Christmas with them, and while they were here we went to Bida Manda, Gonza Tacos & Tequila, cooked a Christmas breakfast, celebrated a "Christmas day" and just enjoyed being together. 

This year, I had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day nights. Although, I hate working holidays, this year was sweet because J and I picked what we wanted to do to celebrate together. The 23rd we treated as our Christmas Eve and had a tasty dinner at the Angus Barn. Christmas Eve was our Christmas Day, so J cooked a great breakfast and we opened each other's gifts. J completely surprised me with a Christmas/push gift of a Tiffany's ring! I have been drooling over it for a long time but never dreamed he would surprise me with it now.

After our breakfast, I napped before getting up early for Christmas Eve service and dinner before heading into work. I had a great patient both nights of work and enjoyed celebrating with co-workers. It was definitely a different but great Christmas! 

Week 31: Christmas continues! 

My family came into town for the weekend, and we celebrated Christmas morning again. We loved having time together, and my parents loved going to an Indian restaurant with us. 

A week ago, at my last OB appointment, we had a little scare: I was measuring behind. I love my OBs, and this week they scheduled an ultrasound to measure CHP. Thankfully, she is growing fine and is already 3lbs 15oz! They said that if I measure three or more weeks behind they'll do another ultrasound. Keep growing CHP! 

At the end of this week, we drove to DC to celebrate my sweet, little niece's birthday! We always love seeing her and family. She is the cutest, and I'm so excited that she and CHP will be so close in age. Life is going to be so much fun with two little girls running around. 

Week 32: I'm still feeling great and working out. I've started craving citrus all the time. My new favorite drink is passionfruit la croix with grapefruit juice, and I have to take a sliced orange to work every shift. 

Week 33: We had so many fun events this week! A few of my friends from work threw me a PICU shower on Sunday. Everything was adorable, and I felt so loved having everyone spend the afternoon celebrating CHP's little life. It was incredible! Thanks Amanda, Erin, Julianne, and Lindsay! 

J and I have been going on lots of dates, especially as we get closer to CHP's due date. This week, Wicked was in town, so we had dinner at Piedmont before enjoying the show. It's our third time seeing it, and it seems to get better every time. (Our first time was in DC, and the second was in London). 

Week 34: This was baby week!

Monday, we went on our L&D tour. I'm so glad we know where to go, park, and the process of the birthing suite and post-partum room. I might regret it later, but we decided to skip the eight hour birthing class since I had and L&D clinical in college, and everyone we talked to said it was a long day with not a lot of helpful information. Instead, on Wednesday, we went to a breastfeeding class that was so helpful, and I loved the lactation nurse who taught the class. I hope we see her when CHP arrives.

Over the weekend, my in-laws came down to help us with projects. J finished re-finishing the dresser, so my MIL and I organized the nursery. My FIL and J bought shelving and organized the attic, hung curtains and removed blinds in our dining room. We hung CHP's gallery wall, bought containers, and finished organizing her closet, so all that is left is replacing the light fixture and waiting for her gorgeous rocker to arrive. I hope it gets here before she does but regardless, I'm so relieved that her nursery is now complete and ready for her. 

We're getting so close, and every day it seems more real. CHP moves all the time now, and I love feeling her kicks and bumps. It's fun trying to figure out if she's hitting me with her fists, heels, or legs. Pregnancy is so incredible, and I'm so overwhelmed with how thankful I am for her little life. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

IF: Gathering

Over a year ago, my bestie Mallory heard about a new women's conference in Austin called IF: Gathering. We talked about going and decided to try and get tickets. When tickets went on sale, we were both at work and tasked our husbands with purchasing tickets. They sat at their computers and refreshed the page but the conference sold out in 45 minutes along with the site crashing multiple times.

I got one, and Mallory didn't.

As it got closer to February, Mallory found a ticket! So we booked our flights, met in Atlanta, and flew to Austin together.

The whole experience of IF: Gathering was incredible. We loved the worship, speakers, and environment of IF. The premise for last year was "If God is real, then what?"

We were challenged by each of the women who spoke and left feeling energized and encouraged to be bold women, grow deeper in our faith, and grow in relationships. After we got home, I was already planning and hoping to go again this year but after finding out that I was due in February, I knew I couldn't go. 

IF: Gathering is held in Austin, but there are local venues with live feed from the conference. I thought and prayed about hosting but decided being 37 weeks pregnant might not be the best time to host. I was so thrilled to find someone else is hosting an IF: Local in Raleigh. I cannot wait to go this year, meet new women who live in my community, and be challenged again. 

If you're interested in what IF is all about, check out their website and also look for up an IF: Local. It's next weekend, so go!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Maternity Monday: weeks 26-28

If you follow me on IG (aileenpp), you know we're getting close to Baby P's arrival! But it's fun to take the weekly bump photos and document this pregnancy. I love that I bought a May Designs book to keep track of everything. So here is the end of the second trimester, a little late...

Week 26: This week, I've continued to be very emotional. I think a lot of it has to do with not sleeping well and working nights. Normally, I can flip back and forth without too much trouble but with pregnancy it's been really hard. 

This year, I worked Monday-Wednesday before Thanksgiving and am very thankful to have the day and the weekend to celebrate with family. My parents and sister came into town, and it was so nice not having to travel. We hosted a small Thanksgiving and really enjoyed the day.

Over the weekend, we did some nursery prep projects and went to an Indian restaurant that one of J's co-workers owns. My family loved it!

Week 27: I worked all night shifts leading up to our weekend in DC, so I was extremely tired but excited for our weekend celebrating Baby P at two family showers. I've been trying to drink lots of water but in turn am running to the bathroom all the time - day and night!

Over the weekend, we celebrated Baby P at two family showers. My MIL and Carolyn hosted a gorgeous blush pink, gold, monogram, and bows shower in the afternoon. Then we drove up to Baltimore for my side of the family. My mom and cousin hosted a fun co-ed appetizer and books party for our baby.

Just before the showers, we told our families and friends Baby P's initials, in case anyone wanted to monogram gifts. We are keeping her full name a secret until she's born. We love hearing people's guesses of her name.

I'll try and put together a full post of the showers but no promises! They both were such fun, sweet showers, and we felt so loved by our family and friends.

Week 28: The above photo was taken the day before week 28.

This week, we relaxed and organized things from our shower. My SIL and cousin have been a huge blessing by giving us lots of baby clothes, bottles, bouncy seats, toys, and more. Traveling home our car was so full J could barely see out the back, and there is still more in DC that we couldn't fit.

We have really enjoyed time together preparing for our little girl and the Christmas season. I baked and relaxed over the weekend in between projects. We also spent time with the Hills and went to my favorite brunch spot Joule with another couple.

This pregnancy is flying by, and I can't believe we're almost ready to start the third trimester!