My Gentle, Ginormous Giant

This weekend Steven and I made a Home Depot run where we saw a man with 2 Golden Retrievers. I thought his dogs were around 7 months old. Just adorable little puppies!  I asked if I could pet them, and while they were smothering me with kisses I asked how old they were. 3 years old, he said. 
People always comment on how big Huckleberry is for a Golden. Sure, he's kinda tall and can easily rest his head on our countertops ...and at the vet I see the chart that says an average male Golden should weigh about 75lbs., but I shield Huckleberry's eyes from it because I don't want him to think he's overweight at 88lbs.

But seeing those other Goldens really put Huck's size in perspective for me. He is HUGE for a Golden... Like so huge I'm now convinced there is no way he is 100% Golden Retriever. He is simply just too big.

He's my gentle, ginormous giant with accident prone, awkward legs, floppy eyes, expressive eyes, and snow nose. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Goodness my dog is cute.


10 Reasons I'm Thankful for My Husband

This week has been tough. Between working full time, feeling extremely pregnant, and fighting a cold I haven't been the easiest person to live with. It's easy for me to be so consumed with my needs that I become unobservant to the needs of others around me...and that realization hit me this morning while running around preparing for work. 

I noticed that Steven had went ahead and feed Huckleberry and Herschel. Something small, but nonetheless something I usually do each morning... That simple act of kindness --of caring for me without being asked and carrying some of my burden while I'm not feeling well-- really struck a cord with me. My husband really loves me and in sickness and in health that man cares for me, and for that, I am really thankful. So in the spirit of the holiday season quickly approaching I thought I'd let him know just a few of the many reasons I am so very thankful for him. 
One | I am thankful that he provides for me and our little family. He puts us before himself and will do whatever it takes to make sure we are cared for.

Two | I am thankful for his generosity. Whether it's his money, his time, or his possessions, Steven is generous to a fault. It's something I often tease him about, but in reality it's one of his traits I love the most.

Three | I am thankful for the fact that he is a handy man. I don't know how'd I'd survive in this world if I didn't marry a man who can assemble baby cribs, fix broken fences, and restore chicken coops. I'd be one lost woman.

Four | I am thankful for his support. He is my number one fan and greatest encouragement in this life. I am so thankful to have him as my teammate.

Five | I am thankful for his positive outlook in life. For someone who often sees the worst in every situation, having his positive approach to life's trails has been a huge blessing to me.

Six | I am thankful for his enthusiasm. Although I often don't understand why he is so enthusiastic about certain things, I have to admit his enthusiasm is contagious.

Seven | I am thankful he chose me. I quickly learned that becoming Steven's girl in college also meant becoming enemy #1 to many girls within his circle. I don't blame them though. Steven is quite the catch and being his these last few years has brought me more joy than I could ever express.

Eight | I am thankful for his gentleness. Steven is all boy, through and through! He loves to drink beer, wear flannel, chop wood, and talk about trucks and zombies. Yet he is his own foil in that he has the most gentle approach when it comes to me and our fur babies. And I have no doubt he will be the same way with our children. I am so, so thankful for his gentle touch in a world where men are taught to be the opposite.

Nine | I am thankful that he loves me.

Ten | I am thankful that he loves the Lord. I love how Steven and I have grown spiritually these last 3 years together. I love to hear him pray. I am thankful he seeks God each and every day.

I love you, Steven! 


26 Weeks

Baby: Baby is 26 weeks and the size of a head of lettuce! He weighs about 2 lbs. All 5 of his senses are fully developed and he now has eyelashes. So along with practicing his karate moves while I'm trying to sleep at night, he is also practicing opening and closing his eyes! 

Weight: At my last midwife appointment I was up 14 lbs. That was two weeks ago and I swear I'm at least an inch or two rounder than I was then. So I'd say I've gained another pound or two. The jeans I'm wearing above (which are awesome and can be found here) are my only pants I can wear without a belly band now. So I definitely see some maternity shopping happening in my future!  

Symptoms: I am one week away from the 3rd trimester and am just now experiencing the 2nd trimester bliss. You know, the feeling great all the time, energized, no nausea, beautiful hair and nails, etc. that pregnant women claim they begin to experience around week 12? Well, those pregnant women...I hate them. I was throwing up and nauseated every day until about week 22. Then I started experiencing lower back pain and horrible restless leg syndrome at night. It wasn't until week 24 that I began feeling myself again and experienced a resurgence of energy. Now, I really am feeling great (minus the cold...but I'll take congestion and a little cough any day over nausea and restless leg syndrome)! I hope this phase lasts long into the 3rd trimester...but from what I've been reading, that seems very unlikely. Soon the uncomfortable(ness) will begin and I'll again want to punch people in the face. Hey, maybe there is a silver lining to all this though? Maybe a rough pregnancy means an easy labor ;) A girl can dream!!

Sleep: These days, I fear for my life at night. Getting up every couple hours to go pee really isn't that big of a deal to me, but as I get bigger and my sense of equilibrium begins to deteriorate Huckleberry has become an issue. That dog changes sleeping spots at least a dozen times every night! I've tripped over him so often these last few weeks while trying to make my way to the restroom that I'm beginning to think I need to sleep with a flashlight beside my bed. But he's just so darn cute I pat him on the head and apologize every time. I love that golden butt head. 

Cravings/Aversions: I just love food and seem to have an unending appetite. I don't get full anymore, which goes against everything I've been reading. (i.e. "pregnant women need to eat 6 small meals a day because they don't have as much room and get full quickly..blah, blah, blah" or something like that). Yeah, that's not me. If you put a box of doughnut holes in front of me I'll eat the entire thing, in record time, and then ask for more. I don't get full. Ever. I don't stop eating. Ever. I blame it on not being able to eat basically anything the first 20 weeks, not my lack of self-control. Lord, help me as the holiday season approaches...

Body: I'm huge. Some days I think it's cute, other days I think it's disgusting. It's all worth it though every time I feel this little guy kick! Steven's great and makes me feel pretty even when I'm certain I am anything but. That guy sure does love me.

Random Thoughts: We took our first Bradley Method birthing class last week and I really enjoyed it! It was fun to meet with other first time parents who share my passion for holistic living and natural birth. I think they will be a great support system for us throughout the remainder of our pregnancy. 
Seeing our little man's nursery come together is such an exciting feeling! We have been so blessed by my family on the east coast that we pretty much have all the big pieces now --crib, dresser, pack 'n play, mattress. I love just sitting in his nursery and running my hands over everything. It makes me feel more connected to him somehow. 
I had a crazy realization last night that this time next year our little one will be 8 months old and celebrating his very first holiday season! How different things will be in just one short year!
Are you guys getting sick of my pregnancy updates? Hang in there, we only have about 14 more weeks and then you'll have newborn baby pictures to get sick of! I know, the excitement can be overwhelming. ;) Hope you're having a great week!


Busy Life at our Little Bungalow

Things have been quiet on here these last few days as I've been nursing a head cold. Being pregnant is no joke, but being pregnant with a cold is the worse! Thankfully, (with the help of tea, lots of sleep, and vitamin C and D), I'm finally beginning to feel a bit better.

Yet, even though my blogging has slowed down things around our little bungalow have been picking up the pace! Between work, preparing for baby, and gearing up for the holidays we definitely haven't had much down time these last few weeks.

Steven has put together the baby's crib and dresser already. Slowly but surely the space is becoming our little man's and it's so exciting to see it transform!
Nursery sneak-peak. Still have a lot to do!
Also for baby, my amazing sister-in-law blessed us with some hand-me-downs from her 3 boys. It was so fun going through the clothes! Our little man has quite the wardrobe already!
Huck enjoyed going through all the cute baby clothes, too. His favorite outfit was this onesie and booties covered in pups. He just looks sad because he can't wear it himself...
Another thing keeping me busy is the oven. I've decided that since I've been indulging in grain and sugar throughout this pregnancy, I should at least know exactly what is in it. So I've been making all of our breads and sweets at home. It's definitely time consuming, but for me it's worth it to know what's going into my body (and baby's!). So although I haven't been eating 100% Paleo/yeast-free since being pregnant, I still want to make healthy choices for me and baby. And one way of doing that is preparing all your food at home!
Homemade sandwich bread and fresh baked apple pie
And poor Steven..while I'm slaving away in the kitchen or organizing baby's closet, he's doing the heavy lifting around the home. Not only has he assembled all of baby's furniture for me but he's also been taking care of our yard (which is a lot of work!), something I like to avoid at all costs. That man sure does take care of me!
 But in the midst of all the craziness around here, it's nice to see my boys slow down to catch a few zzz's. Seriously, how cute are these two??
And that's the busy life being lived in our little home! Things may be crazy but this is still such an exciting time for us! In just 14 short weeks we get to meet our little boy! :)


Nursery Inspiration

*First off, thank you for the kind words and encouragement on yesterday's post. Some of your comments and emails brought tears to my eyes (GAH! hormones). It feels nice to know I'm not alone in the way I'm feeling. Anywho...
Before I even knew I was pregnant I found myself scourging Pinterest from time to time in search of the perfect nursery. I soon realized I'm not a fan of themed nurseries. I'm not drawn to the Winnie the Pooh rooms nor nautical themes (not that they aren't cute, they simply aren't my taste!), but instead I found myself drawn to simple yet eclectic nurseries with novelty touches scattered throughout.  

For our little boy's room, we've decided on a gray and white color palette. I wanted to keep the space neutral and then add the cozier touches that bring some personality throughout.  Below are some of the items and accessories I hope to incorporate.

We are fortunate enough to have some of the larger pieces already (the Jenny Lind crib and Ikea dresser [which are HUGE $$ savers as well!]) and we already have a pretty good start on our little man's library! I look forward to searching for those smaller pieces though to really pull the space together!  

Who knew designing a space for someone else could be so much fun!? ;)
To see more of my favorite nursery looks visit my Pinterest page


Being Real: My Hormonal, Pregnancy Stuggles

I've officially lost it. I realized last night that my pregnancy hormones have finally gotten the better of me when I found myself sitting on the floor in our baby boy's empty nursery crying inconsolably.

I'm not sure why I was crying. Maybe it was because while painting the nursery some of the paint sloppily ended up on the ceilings edges, or maybe it was because the holidays are approaching and I miss my family, or maybe it was because I know my very best friend in this world probably won't be able to meet my son until he's already a year old, but, more than likely, it was because I'm just tired, overwhelmed, anxious, and hormonal. Damn hormones.

This is definitely the hardest season of my life to date. I don't say that because things are going poorly. On the contrary, things are actually going really well. The baby and I are both healthy, my amazing family recently blessed us with a card shower to help me and Steven get the nursery underway --showering us with enough money to buy the crib, glider, and pack 'n play-- and I have an amazing husband by my side who has been so supportive and encouraging throughout my pregnancy. Yet things are also really, really tough for me right now...at least in my head and in my heart. That's where my struggle is. That's where my war is raging. 

I'm dealing with a lot of emotion, and until last night it had remained bottled up. I'm in a habit of doing that as I've explained to you once before. I thought it was something I was overcoming --laying the mask aside-- but obviously, it is still a struggle for me. 

I'm struggling with how quickly time is passing and how much is still left to be done, guilt that I have to return back to work after 12 weeks and jealousy towards those who get to stay home with their babies, and a surprisingly strong desire to protect my unborn child. A strong desire that I fear borders on selfishness. I've already decided that I want no one with me at the birthing center other than my husband. I don't even think I want anyone to visit me those first couple days at home... Is that normal? I don't want anyone to touch my baby, I don't want anyone to advise me on how to raise him unless I ask, and I don't want anyone to steal precious moments away from me those first 12 weeks of his life when he is able to have my undivided attention. I feel all this so strongly I find it frightening. Is this normal? Will these feelings change? Am I going to be one of those neurotic mothers everyone rolls their eyes at when her back is turned? 

I feel weighted down by these emotions.

But if I'm being transparent, I also know that there is hope. It's a heavy, hard time in my head and heart right now, but I know it's a short storm and I'll find myself on the other side in due time. But for today it is consuming. As I draw near to the Lord for comfort and direction I feel Him working on my heart and I pray He also works on the hearts of those around me --that they will be sensitive and understanding as I wade through the murky waters of motherhood for the first time, that they will give me space when I need it and respect my little family's privacy, and that they would bless us with continual prayer. It's hard to articulate what I'm going through (I've never experienced it before), but I think that maybe there is another mother out there who is going through or has already went through the same thing, and if so, I'd love to hear from you. But if not, I think for me this war is a spiritual one and by drawing near to Him I can overcome it --my fears can be assuaged and my heart lightened.  

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and weighed down with heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in spirit. Indeed, you will surely find rest in Me! My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

"I have told you these things so that you would find comfort in Me. In this world, you will suffer; but be courageous, for I have overcome the world!" - John 16:33 


Bits of Days

Wow! What a crazy holiday weekend! Steven and I took advantage of our extra day off and got tons of chores and errands run. Do boys experience nesting before their baby comes? Because if so, I definitely think Steven has caught the nesting bug. He was on top of the roof blowing leaves and cleaning gutters, raking, mulching, and chopping wood! Men are sexy when they do housework...just saying :)

One thing I didn't do this weekend was check my work email so I have some catching up to do today around the office. In my absence I wanted to introduce you to my sweet friend, Zia. This lady has lead one interesting life and blogs all about it at Bits of Days. Currently a student in Germany, Zia has already lived in three different countries! Every time I read her blog I feel as though I've been bitten by the travel bug, too! To read a little about her travels check out the Q&A sesh below!
1) Why did you start blogging and what do you love most about it?
I started blogging in high school, and back then I just wanted to pour my heart and soul into something without annoying other people. I didn't know there was a blogging community! Now that I've started networking, I love that I can connect with a lot of interesting and inspiring people from different walk of lives, and have something in common with them!

2) You've lived in Indonesia, Germany, and the United States! Wow! What was/is your favorite thing about living in each?
I love Indonesian food, hands down :D I love the public transportation system in Germany, because there are lots of options (buses, trams, trains, etc) and availability from almost everywhere. In the US, where I lived, I loved how there were a lot of wide open spaces, and that there were not many people around. I grew up in one of the biggest cities in the world, so it was a nice change of scenery.

3) What is your least favorite thing about living in any (or all) of these countries?
I didn't like the fact that there wasn't any public transportation in the suburbs in the US. I couldn't explore the place where I lived as much as I wanted to... In Germany, they have a lottt of regulations for a lot of things. It may be good to standardize everything, but really, too much bureaucracy. I hate the traffic jams in Indonesia! In the morning, a supposedly 20-minute car ride in the rush hour may take 45 minutes!
4) Where have you not had an opportunity to travel to yet that you're dying to visit?
I'd love to visit Bavaria! I like Bayern Munich, and I'd love to see one of their home games and the castles as well!

5) You're a college student in Germany! What are you studying and what is your dream job after graduation?
I'm studying Information Management and Systems. It's a combination of business and IT/programming. I love my major because it combines two of my most favorite things in the world! After graduation, I'd like to work for an IT company, either a start-up or an already established one, but later I'd like to own my own small business where I can work remotely.
Thanks, Zia!
Be sure to head on over to Zia's blog to follow along with her many adventures!


24 Weeks

6 months down, 3 more to go! I can't believe I'm already 24 weeks pregnant! 
I know I say this every week, but time is really flying by!!
Baby: Baby is 24 weeks and the size of a cantaloupe. He is beginning to look more and more human every week with his skin becoming less transparent and adding some chub to those little legs and tummy! His heart rate with each midwife appointment has been pretty consistently around 140 bpm. 

Weight: I've gained 14 lbs and am feeling large! I'm thankful to be out of the "is she pregnant or chubby?" phase, or I least I feel like I look very pregnant! Still haven't had to purchase any maternity clothes but I did wear a belly band for the first time the other day and I found it quite comfy.   

Symptoms: I feel great!! No nausea, I can eat what I like, I haven't gotten sick in the shower in almost 2 weeks, and car rides no longer make me ill! I'm guessing this is what most women experience their entire second trimester. It may have taken me about 10 weeks longer to get to this point, but I'm glad it's finally here and I hope it sticks around! My only complaint is some lower back pain

Sleep: Sleep has been a bit of a challenge. I have trouble turning from side to side and I still find myself waking up a lot in the middle of the night on my back (much to my frustration!), which I know is a no-no. Lower back pain is here to stay. I know it's not all pregnancy related due to an old gymnastics injury and I've dealt with it for years so it doesn't phase me much. 

Cravings/Aversions: I am thankful I'm not experiencing a lot of unhealthy cravings! I enjoy oatmeal with a banana in the morning and have been eating a lot of soup/salad combos for lunch. The weather is rainy and chilly here so I just want to eat hot meals that are comforting and filling. 

Body: Monday I noticed I'm beginning to get the dark line that runs down the abdomen (linea negra). It's faint, but I've heard it will continue to darken throughout my pregnancy and then fade after I've given birth. Other than that my belly is just getting rounder and rounder! No stretch marks yet and the breakouts I was experiencing the last couple weeks have subsided (for now). 

Random Thoughts: Baby is now a mover and a shaker and I love it so much! I'm definitely beginning to notice his waking and sleeping cycles. He is no longer breech, making it easier for me to feel his kicks and flips. He favors my right side and often kicks under my ribs over there making sitting at my desk all day a little uncomfortable. When it becomes to much too manage I get up and walk around the office a bit...I think the movement sways him to sleep because the kicking stops and I can get some work accomplished! ;) 

Also, this past weekend Steven and I were able to paint the nursery! We picked a light gray color called nimbus (okay, actually my mom picked it out. Thanks. Mom!) and it's perfect! Now the real fun begins...decorating!! 



Life's little moments as captured on my iPhone.
1| Huck coming home from daycare in another festive scarf...his holiday scarf collection has really taken off!
2| Huckster after deciding a spa day was in order. He loves his mud baths.
3| Coming home from work to find new Hunter boots curtesy of my husband.
New shoes...that man knows the way to my heart. 
 4| Paleo brownies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream all covered in homemade ganache. Yes, please!
5| A lovely surprise from our neighbors. Steven and I have been borrowing a kitchen table from his parents ever since we moved in that kind of drove me crazy, but our gracious neighbors recently gave us this lovely counter height kitchen table...for FREE!! We feel so blessed! 
Bye, bye ugly table and hello gorgeous!!

For more iMoments, go here.


The Good, The Bad, The Funny

The Good
1| The chilly weather calls for lots of homemade soup and homemade bread! The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven is simply the best.
2| Receiving gifts in the mail for our little boy from friends and family far away. It feels so nice to know that he's loved and thought of by so many already.
3| Getting rid of our TV and finding other ways to occupy my time. I've been able to accomplish so much around the house without the TV being a constant distraction!

The Bad
1| My trouble child Huck gave me yet another scare yesterday. I came home to a swollen, disfigured Golden who had apparently decided to show some bees who was boss. The bees ended up being boss while Huck and I ended up at the vet. Again.
2| Calling my boss to let him know I can't come into work because I need to monitor my dogs breathing for the next 3 hours. This is my life... Sometimes it's embarrassing.
3| I love, love, love, love the holidays! But not being able to fly home and spend them with my family always leaves me feeling a little hollow this time of year.

The Funny
1| Every night I kick Herschel off the bed and exclaim that he is not sleeping on my beautiful, white comforter that I'm trying to keep pristinely clean. Every morning I wake up with Herschel's gray, leaf ridden body at the foot of my not-so-white-anymore bed.
2| My crazy, weird obsession with sock monkeys. I just think they are the cutest, classic stuffed toy. My mom keeps finding them out and about while shopping and I make her buy them for baby. Hopefully, he won't find them creepy like I know some people do...because he's going to own quite a few.

Happy first day of November! I can't believe the holidays are just around the corner. Man, has this year flown by! I always feel like today should be celebrated, so celebrate I will! It's November, my dog didn't die and I have homemade bread for days...yay!