Monday, September 28, 2020

3 Hour Glucose Test at 29 Weeks Pregnant | Baby #2

Happy Monday! It's an extra happy Monday over here because I got some good news from the doctor. Last week, I had to go in for a 3 hour glucose test (for gestational diabetes) and I just recently found out that I passed the test. No gestational diabetes for me!

The testing itself was a challenge. I had to be fasting for the appointment so I didn't have anything to eat or drink since 6pm the night prior. My testing was scheduled to begin around 9:45am (but didn't start until 10:00). I got a blood draw every hour, ending at 1pm. By the time it was all over, I was essentially fasted from food and water for 19 straight hours. Being 29 weeks pregnant and without food/water for that long really messed me up.

Later that night, I woke up at 11pm with the most intense and painful contractions and back pain. At one point they were so bad I was bent over crying in pain, trying to breathe through the contractions. We considered calling the doctor but we knew they would send us in to the hospital and we were trying to avoid that until we saw how long this all lasted. Nick did a good job trying to keep me calm and comfortable. He timed my contractions and they were so irregular. I had about 3 intervals of contractions for 15-20 minutes at a time with 5 - 10 minute breaks in between. I was finally able to get some rest around 1:00am. 

I have my next appointment with my doctor this Friday, at which point we'll discuss this all with him. Our guess is that I had these contractions because I was so dehydrated from fasting and bloodwork earlier that day. I've increased my water intake to a gallon each day since and we've been contraction free! If the contractions were to happen again prior to my appointment this week, I would call the doctor because then our theory of dehydration would be out the window.

This morning, baby girl is kicking up a storm! Praising God for getting us through that rough night and for these sweet (and strong) baby kicks this morning!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Anniversary Date in the Woods

This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated 11 years of marriage with a date in the woods! When trying to decide what we wanted to do for our anniversary, we knew one thing - we wanted to avoid a crowd. 

Between COVID-19 and being 28 weeks pregnant at the time, we felt most comfortable staying local and wanted to be fairly secluded for this anniversary celebration. An intimate date in the woods met our comfort level perfectly for this particular season in our lives!


We dropped our daughter off with my mom around 3pm on Saturday, and our anniversary date started right away! First, we went to Walmart where we gave each other 15 minutes to split up and search the store for small gifts that represented each of the 5 senses. We saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it was cute! What we didn't realize was how much fun it would be!


After the gift hunt, we ordered take-out from one of our favorite restaurants. Nick deferred to my pregnancy craving for dinner, which on this particular night was pasta and chocolate cake! We had just enough time to stop by our house and wrap the gifts for one another before picking up the food and heading out to the woods!




In order to get to the location of our date, we had to drive through a field. This is where a SUV really comes in handy, as well as a husband who use to drive around in a field car when he was younger. When we arrived, we both got started making the woods our own little retreat for the evening. Nick strung the lights while I set up the gift and food table. We both scattered comfy blankets and pillows in the back of the truck and then, it was time to eat!



It was a chilly evening outside, which kept the bugs at bay. The back of the truck stayed nice and warm. We listened to the woods around us and a playlist I made on Spotify. It's really hard to put into words how peaceful and intimate that evening was for the two of us. While back in the woods, it truly felt like the rest of the world fell away and it was just him and I (and baby girl in my tummy, of course). 


We got to reminisce of where we've been (together since 15 years old), share about how proud and blessed we are to be parents to our girls, and we got to dream about what's to come. We prayed with each other, we laughed, and I cried happy tears (pregnancy hormones).


It was an anniversary date that we will not soon forget!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Second Trimester: Weeks 24 - 27 | Baby #2

Right now, I am 28 weeks pregnancy and doing so well! I can't believe I am in my third trimester with sweet baby #2! The second trimester was truly incredible. The honeymoon stage of pregnancy did not disappoint! 

I can't tell you how many times in these past couple months my husband has stopped me in my tracks to help me with something I probably shouldn't be doing while pregnant (like carrying loads of laundry down two flights of stairs). All because I felt so normal during my second trimester that I would sometimes forget that I'm pregnant! Now that I'm in the third trimester, and baby girl is getting much larger, there are no more moments of "forgetting that I'm pregnant" these days. 

Week 24: 
- Nick was able to come to another appointment with me (a luxury in a pandemic) 
- During my sonogram, baby girl kept her hands by her face, it was so sweet


Week 25:
- Heartburn is visiting after meals during the day, causing mild discomfort
- Still able to get a good amount of sleep with only a trip or two to the bathroom
- Craving homemade food from my childhood at Nana's 
(Salisbury Steaks + Mashed Potatoes on repeat)


Week 26:
- Bump is growing
- Rolling from side to side at night is just starting to become a challenge
- Kicks are getting stronger (and sometimes a little painful)


Week 27:
- I can't believe I'm in the third trimester already!
- Tying my shoes is starting to get harder
- Nursery is very close to being finished (just need baseboards & decor)


I can't believe I'll only be posting 3 more recaps like this before baby girl arrives! I am so in love with her already.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Second Trimester: Weeks 19 - 23 | Baby #2

With the end of summer and the ramping up of Fall, I have fallen a little behind on my pregnancy updates! Today, I'll be sharing a recap from weeks 19 - 23!

Week 19:
- Baby kicks are getting stronger this week
- Getting super excited to find out the gender next week!
- Making more progress on the nursery!


Week 20
- Nick was able to attend my 20 week sonogram!
- We found out the baby is a GIRL!
- We had a joyful week, sharing the news with family and friends!


Week 21:
- Starting to feel the baby grow larger
- Loving the soft little baby kicks
- Still able to get a decent amount of sleep without issues

Week 22:
- Aches and pains begin (especially in the pelvis)
- Feeling and looking noticeably bigger


Week 23:
- Aches and pains continue but thankfully only feeling them more-so in the evenings
- Baby is very active at night and around 4am
- Grateful to still be getting a decent amount of sleep at night!

The second trimester was such an amazing season for us! I'll be posting the final update for my second trimester in just a couple days!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Our Remote Kindergarten Schedule

Due to the global pandemic, we have chosen to school our daughter from home this year. We had multiple choices to pick from when it came to schooling Piper during the 2020-2021 school year. Ultimately, we picked a virtual option offered through our school district. 

We will soon be welcoming a newborn into our home in about 3 months, which played a big role in our decision for the type of schooling we're providing in the midst of a pandemic. We will continue re-evaluate our decision as the school year progresses, keeping Piper and our family's best interests in mind.

We picked remote schooling for Piper this year because we felt it would work best for our current family situation. We understand every family has different circumstances they are considering when choosing the type of schooling for their children this year. Please don't fall into the trap of comparison when it comes to picking schooling options. We're all just doing the best we can to navigate this all, given our individual circumstances. 


Piper's teacher provides pre-recorded lessons for Math and English each day. Since a majority of Piper's lessons are pre-recorded, we have the flexibility to create our own school schedule. For those who are interested in learning more about how we're making remote learning work from home with Kindergartner, I'm sharing our schooling and family schedule below.

Monday - Friday

7:00 - 8:00
Slowly Wake-Up 
Get Dressed
Brush Teeth
Free Play

8:00 - 9:00
Breakfast
Mom Lesson Preps Materials

9:00 - 10:00
English Lesson & Assignments

10:00 - 11:00
Snack & Wiggle Break (outside when we can)

11:00 - 12:00
Math Lesson & Assignments

12:00 - 1:00
Lunch

1:00 - 1:30
LIVE Calendar Time with Class

1:30 - 3:30
Free Play / Outing

3:30 - 4:30
Family Time
Homework (LEXIA / Moby Max)

4:30 - 5:30
Dinner

5:30 - 8:30
Family Time (outside when we can)
Bath Time
Bedtime Routine

We spend about 3.5 hours on schooling each day. Sometimes my prep time takes longer, and I've clocked in about 5 hours of school time on the longer days.

Obviously, this is what our weekday routine looks like prior to adding a baby to the mix! I am not sure how it will all look once Baby #2 arrives in three months. However, I'll be happy to share an update of how we end up making it all work. Who knows, Piper may be back to in-person schooling by that time but, for now we are feeling at peace with keeping her home and her current learning environment. As hard as some days may be, we are blessed to be facilitating Kindergarten safely at home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! I have a heart for helping others and I want you to know that no matter how you're choosing to school your children this year - we're all in this together!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day Weekend + Baby Prep Project

Hello, and happy Labor Day! This weekend was filled with a good mix of fun, down-time, and baby prep projects! 

Now that we're a couple weeks into remote Kindergarten, I especially enjoyed the three-day weekend off from lesson prep and facilitation. As much as we are growing to love our new adventure with schooling, it was good to just be "mom" this weekend!

I do look forward to sharing more about our remote learning adventure, soon! To be honest, it hasn't all been easy or fun; especially during the first week! There were many nights where I would cry because I wasn't sure if we were making the right decision and because I was worried about how we were going to make it all work (especially with a baby due in a couple months). However, now that we're settling into our new routine, we are growing to love all sorts of things about remote learning! I have been thinking about recording a new "day in the life" type vlog surrounding a full school day at home. At the very least, I will make sure to share the schedule we've settled into soon, as it's been working so well for us!

As for Labor Day weekend projects, there have been quite a few! Some of which happened in the nursery for Baby #2! While I'd love to show you some progress on our nursery, I think I want to save that for another post. Instead, I will share a different project we accomplished this weekend which was on my baby prep checklist.

We took advantage of the Labor Day sales and bought ourselves a brand new dishwasher! Our dishwasher stopped working about three years ago. I did have a functional dishwasher when Piper was a baby, which was amazing to have for baby bottle sanitation purposes! Not to mention the overall convenience of a dishwasher, and how amazing it is to have in general. 

My husband did the entire install himself in just a coupe hours. We are so blessed by his talents!

Tonight, I am looking forward to running our new dishwasher for the first time! But first, we need to get some dishes dirty from our Turkey Chili dinner.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Piper's First Day of (Remote) Kindergarten

Happy Monday, everyone! It's been a little while since I've checked in and that would be because school has started up! This past week we have been creating and settling into some new routines. 

Last week, I wrapped up everything for my job before handing in my laptop and such. Today officially begins my first week of being a stay at home mom, again. For more on that, you can read my post: Everything is Changing | Stay at Home Mom x2

For multiple reasons (providing consistency during a pandemic being a large part) we have decided to start the new adventure of schooling Piper from home this school year. Piper started remote Kindergarten last Tuesday and it's going much better than I anticipated!


Piper had the chance to meet her teacher in-person the day before school officially started, which was really nice. We were given a ChromeBook during our visit along with all of the paper assignments and materials needed for the first 30-45 days of school.


Piper receives pre-recorded video lessons from her teacher 5 days/week for English and Math. As her learning coach, I am with her during all of her lessons and I help facilitate her written assignments. 

Before school started, I was worried Piper might fall behind in doing remote learning but, from the material we're covering that will certainly not be the case. She has been learning and applying so many new things already. It's so exciting to witness and facilitate. I feel very blessed to see a side of Piper that would usually be reserved for her teacher at school.


As we settle into our new routine, I'll be happy to share our current schedule and how we're making it all work. More to come on this new learning adventure, soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Piper's 5th Birthday Party at Chuck E. Cheese

This is definitely considered a throwback post since Piper's birthday party happened SEVEN months ago! I can't believe I never shared about Piper's birthday party this past winter. I love sharing these memories for our future-selves to look back on, so I decided not to wait another day!

A few months prior to the mere thought of a world-wide pandemic, when life as we knew it was normal, we gathered some friends and family at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate Piper's 5th Birthday!

 

This video and these photos serve as such sweet memories, even more-so now that we know we will not be able to gather with friends and family in this way anytime soon.















We were all blessed with a fun-filled celebration for Piper's 5th Birthday!
We are so proud of our 5 year old!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Everything is Changing | Stay-At-Home Mom x2

Hey, everyone! How has August been treating you? August has begun a season of big changes for my family! This is a good time to remind myself and others that not all change is bad.

At the beginning of August, I was told that our church site would be combining with the main campus and my role as Site Admin would be dissolving, along with the Site Pastor and Worship Leader. At the end of the month, I will no longer be employed by our church. The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken it's toll in many ways and this has been one of the greatest impacts to my family, personally. I also recognize the great impact it will have on the community, as well.

First of all, we already miss our church family! None of us knew that the last time we gathered together in our building would be for the last time. However, we know more than anyone that the church is more than a building and, it's really the people and the opportunity to reach more of them in the community that we will miss the most. Since I am pregnant and will be welcoming a baby late Fall (height of cold and flu season), I was not planning on attending many more in-person gatherings for quite some time, however, once we are ready to attend in-person gatherings more routinely again, it is our intention to join gatherings at the main campus for our church. We were already driving about 15 minutes to attend services at our site. Main campus will add about 10 minutes to our commute.

As for my role with the church, I absolutely will miss it. I will miss the great influence from all those I worked alongside. I will miss being able to use and expand my giftings in that role. I will miss being used by God in that way, specifically.

God has been so good to me! He has prepared my heart for this special transition from working to being a stay at home mom (again). Earlier this summer, I began praying for God to give me direction in what this next season was going to look like for my family. First, we asked God to give us direction in whether or not we should send Piper to school, or school Piper from home. After some time, a lot of tears and debates, I felt at peace with the choice to school Piper from home this Fall. Thank you, God! What I didn't know, was how I was going to to do it all. 

Next, I prayed for some direction in how I was going to make it all work. How was I going to continue to work in my role, become a teacher for Piper and, welcome a new baby all at the same time? Over the course of a few weeks, God opened my heart to the possibility of needing to take a season away from work, or the possibility of needing to reduce hours. He didn't give me an answer at the time, except for the direction to prepare and wait. So, I did. When the news came that I would not be working in my role at the end of the month, I felt a sense of peace. This was the direction that I had been praying for! Thank you, God!

Trust me when I say, this isn't what I wanted. What I wanted was for there not to be a pandemic. I wanted to be sending my 5 year old off to kindergarten as normal this school year. I wanted to continue working in this role with the church. I wanted to keep going to our church every Sunday as usual. I wanted to welcome our baby into our family this Fall without coming up with plans that involve quarantining our family before and after birth. This isn't what I wanted at all, but I can trust that God is sovereign and that He is working everything for our good and His glory. He is redeemer.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to have the opportunity and ability to stay at home with my children; to keep them safe at home during this season. Not everyone has the option to school their child from home and even though it wasn't my first choice, given the circumstances it is the best choice for us right now. I am so grateful to be given this discernment and the ability to make it all happen, with God's grace and direction.

I also feel so incredibly blessed by our church, and leadership. They have met us exactly where we are, with such grace, love and generosity. I know that not everyone gets the opportunity to work for their church, and so it may be hard to imagine but, it truly was the best place to work. I will miss being poured into by such wise, kind and supportive people while working alongside them.


So, in a just a couple more weeks... here goes stay-at-home mom life, take 2!

Friday, August 7, 2020

My Meal Planning Process

Back when I was working on trying to lose weight, I consistently did one thing that helped contribute to my success. That one thing was meal planning! Even though I am not trying to lose weight right now (weight-loss on hold during pregnancy), I find such a value in meal planning. It helps me to stay on track with my financial budget and helps us to reduce food waste. I also just love to have a plan to follow!

Over the years, I have tried a few different processes for meal planning, and my current rhythm has been my favorite! 

Friday: meal plan and make a grocery list
Saturday: grocery shop
Sunday: meal prep anything that needs prepped for the week

Spreading the process out over the course of a few days helps me to go at a comfortable, sustainable pace. It makes it more enjoyable, too!

Since it's Friday, I figured I would share my meal planning for next week:

Breakfast Options:
- Avocado Toast + Bacon
- Egg, Bacon + Cheese Burritos

Lunch Options:
- Salads
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Leftovers

Dinner Menu:
Friday: Marry Me Chicken + Twice Baked Potatoes
Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Salads
Sunday: Spaghetti Squash + Meatballs w/ Garlic Knots
Monday: Lettuce-Wrapped Burgers + Corn
Tuesday: Burrito Bowls
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Salads
Thursday: Homemade Sesame Chicken + Vegetables + Rice
Friday: Homemade Pizzas

Here's a peak at what our homemade pizza looks like - we love them!

Hope this helps you in your meal planning!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Gender Reveal | Baby #2

The gender reveal video is here!

If you read my last update, you know that Nick and I found out the gender when we were alone together, after my sonogram appointment. This gave us the opportunity to plan a little gender reveal for Piper!


We are so excited to welcome this baby into our family this Fall!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

20 Week Ultrasound | Baby #2

Wow! I can't believe we're already more than halfway through this pregnancy. I feel like in so many ways it's just beginning! My husband was finally able to join me for a sonogram (he was unable to come to my appointments in the first trimester due to COVID restrictions) and it was so amazing to experience the 20-week ultrasound together!


Baby is doing great! We got to see the baby bouncing around for a half hour during the ultrasound. We had to look away when the ultrasound tech was checking on the gender, as we wanted to wait to find out when we were alone and could have those real, raw emotions together. We did the same thing during my pregnancy with Piper, and both experiences were equally incredible! I will never forget the gasp and tears that came when we pulled the sonogram picture from the envelope that said... the gender! I am tearing up just thinking of that time, now. It was so, so special!


After the appointment, my husband and I ordered lunch from Picasso's, a local sandwich shop that creates one of my biggest pregnancy cravings - the Mona Lisa sandwich! We took the lunch to-go, and drove to the top of a hill, with an awesome view, and we waited. We waited a couple minutes for me to work up the nerve to check the envelope! In those moments, I had this bittersweet realization that this was it! This was the last time we'd be experiencing the joy of a surprise such as this! Also, I was just really, really nervous to open the envelope!

My husband and I pulled out the sonogram from the envelope at the same time and we cried the happiest, most joyful tears! 

We'll be sharing the gender reveal very soon! We only have a few more family members to inform and then, we get to tell the world! We can't wait to share the news. God is so good!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Second Trimester: Weeks 14-18 | Baby #2

Hello! I am a little over 19 weeks pregnant now, and so excited to be finding out the gender of our baby in just 7 more days! My husband has been making great progress on the nursery, and I got to spend some time in there, rocking away in the rocking chair while dreaming of just who this little one is going to be!

Before too much more time passes, I want to share an update from my pregnancy during weeks 14-18.

Week 14:
- Feeling fairly normal in my days and loving it!
- Had one day where I felt the wave of first-trimester-like symptoms
- Slight cramping some nights - the baby is growing!

Week 15:
- Belly is starting to feel bigger, but most of my pants still fit!
- Having some more back issues this week, but nothing major
- Overall feeling really good



Week 16:
- Had a check-up with my OBGYN office and Nick got to join me for the first time since COVID-19
- We're now able to find the heartbeat very easily with our at-home doppler
- Not feeling any pregnancy symptoms this week beyond some mild fatigue

Week 17:
- Hormonal and tired but still feeling fairly normal
- Getting some major progress done on the nursery this week
- Gave into some morning sickness in the middle of the night and felt off for a few days after



Week 18:
- This was an easy week with no symptoms
- My pregnancy pillow is my best friend as my belly continues to grow
- Feeling baby kicks in the evenings and loving it!

More updates to come! Just a little slower than usual since we're enjoying our summer while it's here!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Summer In Full Swing

Oh wow! It's been an entire 3 weeks since I last checked in with the blog. I can't believe it! I am 18 weeks pregnant now, and things have been going really well here.

Our county started opening back up a couple weeks ago for the first time since the pandemic started back in March. We have been enjoying more freedom these past few weeks as we finally were able to venture to some of our favorite summer spots! The first place that we visited was the Zoo! It was really great to be back!




We also visited Waldameer Amusement Park! We had season passed purchased prior to the pandemic and so we were very happy to see that they reopened! Of course, nothing is certain in this time. We know that at any moment things could shut down again. So, for now, we are enjoying all that we can do in the moment, while still being safe and wise with keeping distance from others outside of our circle.





When we first arrived at Waldameer, we found out that Piper joined the 48-inch club! She is now tall enough to ride most every ride in the park by herself! The timing of this couldn't be more perfect since I am 18 weeks pregnant, and can't ride barely any rides with her this summer! During our first trip back, (there have been a couple already) Nick was with us. Having him there to ride some of the bigger rides with her first helped to get her use to them all before I took her by myself a few days later. It worked out really well!

Since my last update, we celebrated the 4th of July, too! While there weren't any public firework displays for us to visit, we did get to picnic with some friends that put on an amazing firework show themselves!



I made some mini cheesecakes for the picnic (recipe from Skinny Taste), which went over really well!

With summer in full swing, I will likely have less updates on the blog but, I will try to keep it updated as best as I can! Coming up next, my first "second trimester update" of weeks 14-18 with this pregnancy! We are only a couple weeks away from finding out the gender, and we can't wait!!